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Comparative Performance Monitoring report launch: transcript.

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16 December 1998






Minister Hallam, La dies and Gentlemen


On behalf of the Australian Ministers’ responsible for occupational Health, Safety and Welfare. I am pleased to present the first report on Comparative Performance Monitoring (CPM) of Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) and Workers’ Compensation programs across Australia.


Australia, as a federal nation, has nine different Governments administering nine different Occupational Health and Safety schemes and ten different workers’ compensation schemes.


The States and Territories have primary responsibility for both OHS and Workers’ Compensation. The Federal Government has a more limited role, relating to prevention activities, compensation and rehabilitation for its own employees.


In 1997, the Commonwealth initiated, and we are now working with the States and Territories to implement, the development of a system to enable accurate comparative monitoring of OH&S and workers’ compensation performance for all of the schemes.


The annual cost to Australia of work related injury and illness is in excess of $20 Billion and we have an unacceptable high level of incidence of injury at work each year.


Ministers, as one of the first steps to address this national problem, recognised the need to improve the availability and transparency of key performance information at a system-wide level and at the level of individual Government agencies.


This is the goal of the CPM project.


The CPM project which is being funded by Commonwealth will allow each jurisdiction to compare its OH&S and workers’ compensation performance against other Australian jurisdictions.


Previously, such comparisons have only occurred informally, if at all.


So for the first time we have a mechanism that will provide a reliable comparison between the various jurisdictions.


Governments will be able to see how the policies and practices of other jurisdictions impact on the final outcomes.


Each jurisdiction will be able to learn from the successes and failures of others and, hopefully over time, adopt those initiatives that are most successful in reducing work-related injury and disease.


The by product of this should be greater national consistency in both OH&S and workers’ compensation arrangements. Which will reduce costs to industry and benefit both employers and injured employees.


This work does not aim to evaluate the policies adopted by various Governments.


In the longer term its aim is to assist Governments, and others, with easily accessible, reliable information on the nature and extent of work related injury and disease. To raise awareness of the problem, and of potential solutions that might be implemented in Australian workplaces.


The Comparative Performance Monitoring project is a work in progress.


The first report provides us with information on a number of high level indicators for OH&S —incidence of injury and fatalities, the cost of workers’ compensation to employers, and return to work outcomes for a number of jurisdictions.


Additional performance indicators will be developed and added to those in this report. The quality and reliability of data will be improved and refined as the project progresses.


I would like to thank my colleagues in the State and Territory Governments for their assistance in getting the Comparative Performance Monitoring project up and running.


I am proud to release this report as a major new initiative to help improve Australia’s OH&S performance. It demonstrates the cooperative relationship that the Federal, State and Territory Governments have forged to deal with what is a significant national issue.


I should also mention that the New Zealand Minister for Labour, Mr Max Bradford, has decided that New Zealand will participate in the project, and some comparative information from New Zealand has been included in this first report.


I am very pleased that New Zealand will be taking part, as this will provide Australian duty of care holders and Government with an international comparison. It also demonstrates the good working relationships that Australian Governments have developed wi th our closest neighbour.