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Government to consider workers' compensation reform.

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The Hon. Tony Abbott MP Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations,

Leader of the House of Representatives and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

Senator The Hon. Ian Campbell Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer

24 July 2002


The Federal Government today announced it would examine streamlining Australia's various workers' compensation and occupational health and safety schemes.

While the Government considers primary responsibility for workers compensation should remain with the States, it believes there may be benefits in establishing nationally consistent arrangements for workers' compensation and occupational health and safety (OHS).

Mr Abbott said: "Currently, national businesses must enter up to eight separate workers' compensation schemes. This can impose a great deal of cost and complexity.

"Employees, even those working for the same employer, have varying levels of entitlements depending upon the State or Territory in which they work.

"It is in the best interest of employers and employees to have workers' compensation arrangements that provide a high level of return to work for injured employees, premiums that reflect safety experience of the workplace and provide injured employees with an appropriate level of compensation."

Senator Campbell said: "The Government will soon ask the Productivity Commission to inquire into how Australian industry can be made more efficient and competitive in this area and how workers can best be protected."

Mr Abbott said: "The nation's performance in workplace safety needs to improve. The diverse State and Territory OHS arrangements, with their complex and inconsistent regulation, can add costs to business, create uncertainty for employers and employees and hamper improvements in workplace safety."

Mr Abbott and Senator Campbell said the Government would consult with State and Territory governments soon on the draft terms of reference for the inquiry.

Media contact: Simone Holzapfel (Office of the Hon. Tony Abbott MP) 0417 656 668 Wayne Grant (Office of Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell) 0407 845 280

© Commonwealth of Australia 2000