The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Unions Tasmania have together expressed concern at the Hodgman Government’s Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment Bill 2016 that seeks to change the composition of the WorkCover Board.
The Bill passed through Tasmania’s Lower House yesterday and seeks to make significant changes to the composition of the Board, which plays a vital role in overseeing Tasmania’s workers compensation scheme.
The current Board comprises specialist medical, legal and insurer involvement as well as equal representation of employer and union groups. The legislation provides for a smaller board whose members are appointed entirely at the discretion of the Minister.
Unions and the TCCI are concerned the changes are not in the best interests of Tasmania’s workers compensation scheme and are not supported by either organisation.
Quotes attributable to Michael Bailey
“The WorkCover Board has represented employer and workers well since its inception. Maintaining the representative nature of the Board is important in ensuring that the interests of both parties are balanced,” said TCCI Chief, Michael Bailey.
“If a change in the governance of the Board is desired we must retain the existing employer and worker representation but simply extend voting rights to the other skills based directors.”
“The WorkCover board must remain apolitical and as unions and employers are the key stakeholders in workplace safety we must be represented,” said Mr Bailey.
Quotes attributable to Jessica Munday
“The current Board operates by consensus and, since its inception, has worked constructively and collaboratively,” said Jessica Munday, Unions Tasmania Secretary.
“We have advised the Minister we don’t think this is a good move at all and the TCCI have done the same. We do not believe it will lead to better outcomes.”
“Tasmanian unions have invested significantly time and energy over the years to the Board and we are proud of our involvement in the operation of Tasmania’s workers compensation scheme. We extensively consult with our members and workers on the ground about their experiences and we bring that knowledge to the table,” said Ms Munday.
Unions Tasmania and the TCCI plan to raise their concerns with the Legislative Council and seek support for amendments that retain employer and union representation on any future board.
Michael Bailey, TCCI Chief Executive Officer - 0437 322 338
Jessica Munday, Secretary, Unions Tasmania - 0417 454 809