Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
Premier Jacinta Allan warns businesses could be hit with another hike in WorkCover insurance premiums as the government’s efforts to reform workers’ compensation are blocked by other parties.
Opposition Leader John Pesutto on Tuesday announced the Coalition would push for an upper house inquiry into the state’s WorkCover bill, declaring the current legislation “half-baked”. It puts the legislation in danger of being defeated in the upper house after the Greens decided to vote against Labor’s changes.
Jacinta Allan and John Pesutto are at odds over how best to reform WorkCover.Credit:
The development leaves the Allan government needing the support of several crossbench MPs from across the political divide to pass the draft law it says is needed to keep WorkCover from recording financial deficits.
The proposed changes include limiting access to funds for stress and burnout, and stricter tests for those seeking to keep receiving compensation after 2½ years.
The Victorian Trades Hall Council opposes the changes and its leaders met crossbenchers on Tuesday.
Allan on Tuesday said the government would continue to work with MPs to get the bill through parliament, but said they would need to consider other changes, such as another hike to insurance premiums, which rose by an average 42 per cent this year.
“The best way to ensure that we don’t have a debate in the future about premiums going up as a consequence of not reforming the system is to pass the bill now, and that’s my message to my colleagues in the parliament,” the premier said.
“This bill is about supporting workers. Let’s not have a consequence where businesses might be faced with some additional impost should we still not go through.”
But Pesutto said businesses would be hit with extra charges under the legislation.
“This bill is half-baked, and we have serious concerns,” he said.
“Premiums will continue to go up if this bill is passed in its present form because it’s not a comprehensive solution to all of the problems plaguing WorkCover.
“If we can get that upper house inquiry, we would expect that it will conduct hearings and inquiries very tight and in a very timely way.
“We don’t expect that just Jacinta Allan will agree to that upper house inquiry. But I hope she does.”
Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Paul Guerra urged both sides of politics to come up with a joint solution.
“It’s really important that we find a way through this impasse because business cannot sustain another 42 per cent premium increase like they did this year,” he said.
“We need the scheme to survive. We need the government and the opposition to come together in the same way that business, through the Victorian chamber and [union headquarters] Trades Hall have come together, to talk about solutions and take this forward.”
Libertarian MP David Limbrick, one of the crossbench votes needed to secure the bill’s passage, said he would support “sensible financial decisions by the government”.
“Opposing these changes to WorkCover would mean supporting unsustainable premium increases, further inflationary pressure and more business failures,” he said.
Last week, the Greens announced they would not support the bill, denying Labor crossbench votes it typically relies on to pass legislation.
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.
Most Viewed in Politics
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article