Former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has called for unification of the country’s workers’ compensation schemes to improve long-term productivity.
Mr Bracks urged other states to follow the model adopted over the past decade in Victoria, which is recognised as one of the country's best schemes. Its average premium paid by employers remains Australia's second-lowest after Queensland's.
At present there are 10 workers compensation schemes operating in Australia, which have different terms of common-law access, benefit structures and public-private insurance.
Bracks’ call comes as all states except for Western Australia prepare to move to a national harmonised occupational health and safety model from January 2012.
The establishment of a single national workers compensation scheme is expected to follow.
According to The Australian newspaper, Bracks says the Victorian scheme – which is funded by employers to provide support for people injured at work – is a “good, long-term policy.”
"It may not benefit every stakeholder involved, but it has a significant economic benefit to the state. That is the message to other governments around the country,” Bracks told a private function in Melbourne.
"Forget about tactics; think about the long term; think about the policy that is required for long-term productivity benefits. We don't have that now, and this is the problem,” he said.
WorkSafe oversees Victoria's workers compensation system, which provides financial and health support to people hurt at work.
The system is funded by Victorian employers, who pay a percentage of their total remuneration for insurance cover.