Modernising Workers Compensation in WA

As we speak, the Western Australian government is drafting a new bill to make Workers Compensation a more accessible law.

Delivering on an election commitment, the McGowan government looks to utilise public consultation to modernise workers compensation in Western Australia.

It looks like this bill will be introduced into parliament by the end of 2018, provided there are no hiccups along the way.

The bill will be developed in consideration to the WorkCover WA’s Review of the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981.

This is a long time to put off a bill, and so far, the bill will only implement changes that support lifetime care for disastrously injured workers.

Commerce and Industrial Relations Minister Bill Johnston said that[1] “The current Act has only been amended on a piecemeal basis since it was adopted in 1981, and it’s unwieldy for stakeholders who use and apply it,

It seems the government is mostly rewriting the bill just to make it more assessible and transparent for workers seeking compensation claims and businesses wishing to know their rights when it comes to compensation payouts.

According to the[2], Bill Johnson stated “Rewriting workers’ compensation legislation is an important part of the McGowan Government’s commitment to modernise the States industrial relations system.”

It seems they have forgotten to mention the rights and issues currently facing expired 457 visa holders, workers that have overstayed their visa and people who are working for businesses without proper documentation.

Illegal workers constitute a grey area[3] in current law and each case has been mostly settled in court; in current law, illegal workers are not defined as workers due to conflicting legislation, perhaps this new bill will address this issue.

This Bill could be a great example of leadership from the McGowan government, but we are yet to see what it really entails.

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