The NSW government intends to clear suspected bias within the state’s workers’ compensation scheme with plans to split its authority.
A statutory review of WorkCover by the Centre for International Economics found that the scheme has a reputation for being ‘pro-employer’ due to a lack of neutrality in the merit review process resulting from joint powers.
The review states: “the merit review process is believed to lack full independence because of the dual role of WorkCover and the lack of legal representation for workers with respect to work capacity decisions”.
A parliamentary committee recommended that the WorkCover Independent Review Office, the authority responsible for managing individuals’ complaints and legal aid, no longer be combined under the WorkCover budget.
The committee also suggested that the NSW government work toward resolving the conflict of interest inherent in WorkCover being both the inspector of workplace occupational health and safety standards and the adviser to employees.
The NSW government has already transferred the funds management role from WorkCover to NSW Treasury’s T-Corp.