Under the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003, the operation of Queensland's workers' compensation scheme must be reviewed every five years.
The Queensland Government has published the final report (PDF, 3.59 MB) of an independent review of Queensland's workers' compensation scheme. The 2023 review is the third review of the scheme.
The review found the scheme is still performing well and identified several opportunities to address scheme trends and improve the workers’ compensation process for workers, including recommendations designed to:
- increase early intervention to pre-empt the development of a secondary mental injury following a physical injury
- address workplace issues that may be causing or worsening mental injuries
- make it easier for injured workers to find gainful employment with their own or another employer
- promote reductions in delays in the time taken to provide information and make decisions
- extend workers’ compensation coverage to insecure workers who may otherwise be exposed to uncompensated risk
- address other specific issues.
The review makes 54 recommendations which are being considered by the Government. The Government intends to publish its response to the recommendations in early 2024.
The review was informed by consultation with key stakeholders including registered industrial organisations, employers, insurers, and the legal, medical and allied health professions.
The Queensland Government acknowledges the work of independent reviewers Ms Glenys Fisher (former Industrial Commissioner of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission) and Professor David Peetz (Emeritus Professor of Employment Relations at Griffith University) in undertaking the review.
The second review of the scheme was required to be completed no later than 29 June 2018.
An independent reviewer, Professor David Peetz from Griffith University was appointed by the Honourable Grace Grace MP, Minister for Education and Minister for Industrial Relations on 6 March 2018 to undertake the review.
Professor Peetz conducted targeted consultation and took written submissions from key stakeholders, including trade unions, employer representatives, medical and allied health associations, legal representatives and insurers.
The terms of reference were focused on ensuring the scheme is well placed to respond to emerging issues. The review and subsequent recommendations specifically considered:
- The performance of the scheme in meeting the objectives under section 5 of the Act, including:
- maintaining a balance between providing fair and appropriate benefits for injured workers or dependants and persons other than workers, and ensuring reasonable cost levels for employers
- ensuring that injured workers or dependants are treated fairly by insurers
- providing for the protection of employers' interests in relation to claims for damages for workers' injuries
- providing for employers and injured workers to participate in effective return to work programs.
- Emerging issues facing the Queensland workers' compensation scheme.
- The effectiveness of current rehabilitation and return to work programs and policy settings, including ways to increase Queensland's current return to work rate.
The review found the scheme is performing well and is financially sound. The report states that the scheme involves low costs for employers, provides fair treatment for both employers and injured workers.
Major scheme reform is not recommended, however, a number of opportunities were identified to improve the claims process and experience for injured workers. The report made 57 recommendations, a number of which were implemented administratively or by the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Amendment Act 2019.
Read the Operation of the workers' compensation scheme final report (PDF, 2.39 MB).