Significant reforms to the Return to Work Act have officially passed Parliament, after consensus was reached between the government, businesses, and worker representatives last month.
After passing the lower house during the last parliamentary sitting week, the Return to Work (Scheme Sustainability) Amendment Bill 2022 passed the upper house on Tuesday night before being agreed in the lower house on Wednesday.
The Government proposed a significant set of more than 30 amendments to the Bill following extensive consultation with business groups, worker representatives, and legal practitioners. These amendments clarify the operation of key provisions, and ensure the Bill is as fair as possible to injured workers.
The Bill codifies the principles for the combination of impairments set out in the Summerfield decision, while finding cost savings in other areas of the Scheme to help keep the average premium rate below the legislative target of 2.00%.
The three key elements are:
- Increasing the ‘seriously injured’ threshold for physical injuries to 35% whole person impairment.
- Giving ‘seriously injured’ workers the choice to receive a single lump-sum payment instead of weekly payments until retirement age.
- Offering redemptions to existing ‘seriously injured’ workers.
The Bill will help ensure the Scheme is financially sustainable in the long term, and can continue to support South Australians who are injured at work.
Attributable to Peter Malinauskas
I am pleased that our Government was able to build a consensus between unions and business on this difficult issue.
South Australians can have peace of mind, knowing they are protected while at work.
Attributable to Kyam Maher
After the Marshall Government kicked the can down the road and failed to deal with these issues, we have acted quickly and reached an outcome by bringing business and worker representatives to the table.
This legislation will protect injured South Australians by confirming workers can continue to combine impairments from injuries resulting from the same cause consistent with the principles in the Summerfield decision, while putting in place reforms to help keep average premium rates below 2.00%.