The Victorian Government welcomes the Victorian Ombudsman’s report, WorkSafe 2: Follow-up investigation into the management of complex workers compensation claims, tabled today in Parliament.
The report reveals disturbing examples of injured workers who have been unfairly treated and unjustly denied their legal entitlements.
It also demonstrates a systemic problem with the current model of claims management for complex claims, and insufficient oversight and review mechanisms.
The report makes two recommendations addressed to the Victorian Government, both of which have been accepted.
In responding to these recommendations, the Government will:
Commission an independent review to consider whether the current model of claims management is meeting the objectives of Act, specifically ensuring appropriate compensation is paid to injured workers with complex claims; and
Introduce a new dispute resolution process that allows for binding determinations on the merits of claims decisions. A discussion paper on the model of arbitration powers has been released.
The report also makes thirteen recommendations addressed to WorkSafe, all of which have been accepted.
I have written to the board of WorkSafe detailing my expectation that the recommendations are actioned quickly, in particular to ensure injured workers have access to a timely independent review of their case.
I have also convened an independent Monitoring and Oversight Committee with representation from unions, employer groups and medical professionals to provide the Government with direct and unfiltered advice on the progress of the implementation of the recommendations contained in the reports of this and the Ombudsman’s 2016 investigations.