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New gateway for compo

THE WA Government’s changes to workers’ compensation law should be in place by August.

The Government wants to re-open the second gateway to common law workers’ compensation claims – something business groups are opposed to.

Labour Relations Minister John Kobelke has commissioned Rob Guthrie to prepare a report on the implementations of the changes by mid-July.

Mr Kobelke said the Government planned to move quickly to introduce legislation into the Parliament once he had received Mr Guthrie’s report.

Mr Guthrie is a senior lecturer at Curtin University, has been a part of previous Government workers’ compensation reviews and has written the standard textbook for studies in the WA workers’ compensation system.

He will be taking into account the recommendations made by inquiries into workers’ compensation undertaken towards the end of the term of the previous Government.

Mr Kobelke said any changes would be submitted to actuarial analysis to ensure they would not increase premium rates.

“Our reforms will provide a better balance between common law and statutory parts of the system,” he said.

But business groups blame access to the second gateway for the high workers’ compensation premiums facing businesses.

During the late 1990s some industries endured 500 per cent rises on their workers’ compensation premiums.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry director operations Brendan McCarthy said business was concerned in one respect because of the opening of the second gateway.

“But we’re given some comfort from the Minister’s statement that there won’t be any impact on premiums,” Mr McCarthy said.

Anyone wishing to comment on the workers’ compensation system should forward their views to Mr Guthrie via Gianna Cammarano at WorkCover, 2 Bedbrook Road, Shenton Park WA 6008 by the end of June.

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