While welcoming the improvements to workers compensation benefit design announced today Tasmanian unions who have worked hard for a number of years to secure better conditions for injured workers in Tasmania will be disappointed that the full package recommended by Clayton have not been implemented.

The package amends key items:

Stepdowns are less severe and add an incentive to return to work but remain

The time cap for receipt of benefits is less severs for seriously injured workers only

The statutory death and disability benefit has been raised but remains behind other Australian states

The threshold for access to common law falls from 30 % to 20 % but the narrative test has been abandoned.

Unions Tasmania warmly welcomed the government announcement of its commitment to the Injury Management and Return to Work model developed by WorkCover Tasmania.

Unions Tasmania Secretary, Simon Cocker said:

“These changes announced represent a compromise on the Clayton report and WorkCover Board recommendations but are important in restoring some assistance and support to injured workers.”

“In a sense injured workers have become a victim of the global financial crisis as the economic climate has prevented the government from approving a better package.”

“Since the 2000 reforms injured workers have carried an unfair share of the significant scheme premium savings that have occurred and these changes will restore the balance somewhat. The best method for reducing premiums remains preventing accidents at work. “

“Unions Tasmania congratulates the Minister for the government commitment for improved return to work and injury management. The scheme should be all about support and recovery and this decision will improve both. “