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Navigating the WorkCover Amendment Bill 2023

The Inquiry into the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (WorkCover Scheme Modernisation) Bill 2023 has shed light on critical concerns surrounding the proposed changes, with the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry playing a pivotal role in advocating for the interests of businesses across the state.


The Economy and Infrastructure Committee welcomed the insights of Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Paul Guerra, who emphasised the need for sustainable solutions. The Chamber has been actively engaged in advocating for the interests of businesses, urging for a more comprehensive understanding and collaborative approach to address the challenges facing the WorkCover system.

The Chamber's involvement in this discourse extends beyond the Inquiry, reflecting a consistent and proactive approach. Advocacy efforts have included engagements with both the Government and the Opposition, demonstrating a commitment to fostering a constructive dialogue on the proposed amendments, and Mr Guerra has been an active participant in conversations surrounding the Bill since February 2023.

One of the primary issues the Chamber has raised is the substantial increase in WorkCover premiums. With an average 42 per cent hike, Victorian businesses face a significant financial burden, prompting concerns about the impact on their operations and ability to create new jobs.

Mr Guerra emphasised this point during the hearing, highlighting the difficulty in providing support without a comprehensive understanding of the amendments.

"Victorian businesses pay a lot in this state, and we not only pay the WorkCover premium - we pay a mental health levy on top of that," Mr Guerra told the Committee, drawing attention to the financial burden borne by businesses, including WorkCover premiums and an additional mental health levy for those with a payroll exceeding $10 million (with an extra tax for those with payrolls above $100 million).

“And it's interesting that some of the reason for the increase that we heard this year was around mental health… So it’s important to get on top of how we can help people with their mental health and It's important we get on top of how we help managers and the likes in the workplace with mental health. It’s fundamental that the system survives because we need to be looking after the employee at every step and we need to make sure that the businesses, as they go and do the right thing, know that there is a safeguard mechanism in there.”

Expressing concern over the legislative process, Mr Guerra remarked, "It's no surprise from our statement that we're now looking at a dead cat in terms of the bill on the table."

The Economy and Infrastructure Committee is expected to present their findings in February 2024. The outcomes of this inquiry will shape the future of the WorkCover system in Victoria, underscoring the significance of collaborative and informed decision-making to ensure the welfare of both businesses and employees.

In addition to the hearing, the Chamber's perspectives were expressed through an opinion editorial published in the Herald Sun, providing a broader audience with insights into their stance on the WorkCover Amendment Bill 2023.

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