Minister for Employment, Senator Eric Abetz today announced that the Government will lift the moratorium on private corporations seeking to become self-insurers under the Commonwealth workers’ compensation scheme.
"The Government is committed to creating more jobs by cutting red tape for employers to boost productivity and creating a stronger economy and more jobs,” Senator Abetz said.
"Labor in government imposed an ideologically motivated moratorium on new applicants for self-insurance licences in December 2007 in an attempt to appease union boss interests. Even Labor’s own review recommended lifting the moratorium.
"Labor’s review was completed in 2009 and any justification for continuing the moratorium has long ceased to apply.
"Four years of inertia has cost jobs."
Senator Abetz said the ability to have a single workers’ compensation arrangement nationally under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 will reduce compliance costs for businesses operating across several states.
"The decision to lift the moratorium will help remove unnecessary barriers for the benefit of workers and businesses while achieving a more flexible and productive workplace relations system,” Senator Abetz said.
Under the Comcare scheme, a corporation is eligible to apply for a licence to self-insure if it is carrying on business in competition with a Commonwealth authority or corporation that was previously a Commonwealth authority. For example Telstra, Australia Post or the Commonwealth Bank.
Senator Abetz said applicants for self-insurance under the Comcare scheme need to meet rigorous financial and governance criteria.
"There are currently 30 licensed corporations covered by Commonwealth workers’ compensation legislation which has shown the opportunities that coverage under a single workers’ compensation scheme can provide by reducing compliance costs and helping businesses to make savings,” he said.
"Given that many large employers already self-insure in the state workers’ compensation schemes, it is unlikely there would be a significant impact on the premium pools of those schemes resulting from the lifting of the moratorium.”