Minister tables Bill to remove self-insurance from public sector

Thursday 13 April 2017

The Return to Work Corporation of South Australia (Crown Claims Management) Amendment Bill 2017 and its accompanying report are available on the SISA website document library under 'Legislation'.

The Bill is clearly a response to what had previously been reported to SISA - that the move could not be made via a section 130(2) Governor's proclamation.

As has been the case previously when a rationale for this move was sought, the Minister's report provides no meaningful case whatsoever to justify the change other than vague statements about consistency of approach that say nothing about the results achieved. What is the point of having everything look and feel the same if the outcomes are not as good? In any case, it makes sense that difference in occupation and workplace will dictate variations in approach - Police will obviously have different needs to an administrative or clerical unit, for example. The approaches are not inconsistent, they are necessarily specialised.

It is well understood among those with a real understanding of recovery and return to work in SA that the Crown self-insurance arrangements have easily out-performed the insured scheme across many years in practically all measures, and are managed by a segment of the most skilled and experienced RTW and claims management workforce in the State. The self-insurance model is demonstrably superior to other models due to its immediate full-time presence in the workplace. The Government knows this and has said as much in Parliament in the past.

There are no doubt elements of the current arrangements that could be improved, but these could in no way justify the wholesale loss of the performance and the outcomes achieved by the Crown self-insurers and the loss from the scheme of such a specialised, experienced and successful workforce.

Moving these functions to the insured scheme makes no sense, however it is viewed. SISA calls on the Government to publish the Bentley-Latham Review Report which to now has remained under Cabinet confidentiality. SISA doubts that that report would have found sufficient evidence to support what is proposed by this Bill.

SISA will ensure that Members of Parliament are fully apprised of the facts of this matter and understand the risk for injured workers and the taxpayer entailed in moving away from a demonstrably better model for achieving RTW outcomes for Crown employees.

SISA will continue to demand from the Minister a more meaningful explanation than the nebulous statements provided so far.

At no time has SISA been consulted on this matter, a point we see as significant in itself.

We will do all we can to see this Bill defeated.