As we say goodbye to winter for another year, we also bid farewell to WorkCover NSW ("WorkCover") and the Motor Accidents Authority ("MAA"), which have been replaced under the Insurance and Regulation Reform Package 2015. The package is designed to simplify the old system and provide better outcomes for claimants by improving workplace safety.
Under the old system, WorkCover was the NSW Government body responsible for promoting and supporting health and safety at work, including general help and advice, workers compensation claims, health and safety, licences and registrations, and law and policy. The MAA was the NSW Government body in charge of regulating insurers, monitoring insurer's performance, supporting injury prevention and road safety initiatives, and providing an independent resolution service.
Not all is lost however, as we welcome three new agencies, effective from today 1 September 2015, which have been created pursuant to the State Insurance and Care Governance Act 2015. These three new, discrete organisations include: the State Insurance Regulation Authority (SIRA) which will oversee all state insurance schemes as an independent regulator; SafeWork NSW which will be the State's work health and safety regulator; and Insurance and Care NSW (icare) which will act for the workers compensation nominal insurer and provide services to various insurance and compensation schemes.
The benefits of these reforms will be felt by both workers and employers. Benefits for injured worker have now been made law and will take effect once the Government has proclaimed the commencement date (these benefits will become clearer closer to this date). Similarly, employers will be provided benefits in the form of various incentives for investing in safety and support systems in the workplace.
The Government hopes that these reforms will mark the end of the inherent conflict of interest that has existed in NSW between the operation and regulation of insurance. The three new organisations will enable the Government to facilitate the delivery of a fairer, more sustainable compensation scheme, which focuses on the person, rather than the process.
If you have any enquiries about workplace health and safety or other employment related issues please contact our Gavin Parsons on 02 9262 4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org