Major changes proposed for the WorkCover system in South Australia

SAWIA is undertaking extensive work on the alternative Workers Compensation scheme for South Australia, ensuring the State Government takes into account the wine industry’s views prior to the tabling of legislation. Overall the package of changes seems to be reasonable, albeit that some additional changes would further assist wine producers and grape growers. The focus is on a more sustainable system (ie dealing with the unfunded liability) and a levy rate that is far more comparable to interstate systems which should result in a much more competitive system.

By way of background, Premier Jay Weatherill introduced major policy reform that claims to benefit workers, reduce business costs and cut red tape, with the tabling of Return to Work Bill 2014 and the South Australian Employment Tribunal Bill 2014 in State Parliament on 6 August.

On 8 August, SAWIA circulated a Notice to Members setting out a brief summary of the key proposed changes including amendments to income maintenance, eligibility, return to work obligations, dispute resolution and the application of common law.

These changes will see the introduction of an entirely new Act, which the Government asserts will save registered businesses in South Australia more than $180 million per year. The Return to Work Bill will replace the current Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 1986. The Employment Tribunal Bill will replace the Workers Compensation Tribunal and is intended to provide quicker access and faster dispute resolutions. The Bills will be debated when Parliament resumes from 16 September.

SAWIA will continue to closely monitor the progress of the Bills and keep members informed as this matter progresses. For more information, contact Egon Schwidder on 8222 9273 or