QUEENSLAND has the lowest workers' compensation premiums in the nation and we want to keep it that way for our local small businesses.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland last week voiced its strong opposition to proposed changes to the Queensland workers' compensation scheme.
The current system has undergone significant reforms that have benefited small businesses across the state.
It is more balanced and has greatly enhanced Queensland's competitiveness than the one in operation three years ago.
It has benefited both employers on the Sunshine Coast with improved viability and provided employees with secure employment and inevitably greater opportunities.
Prior to the 2013 reforms, the Queensland workers' compensation framework was viewed by businesses as heavily skewed towards claimants.
As a result of the 2013 reforms, workers' compensation premiums reduced on average by 17%, with the average premium rate for businesses dropping from $1.45 per $100 of wages to $1.20 for 2014-15 - and again at this rate for 2015-16.
This has unmistakably provided significant stimulus to the local economy and boosted jobs.
The balance that we now have is estimated to provide a $250 million benefit to the state's business community each year.
Queensland's historically low workers' compensation premiums have been a central element to keeping the Sunshine Coast business operating environment competitive.
Eight out of every 10 small businesses are supportive of the introduction of a threshold to reduce access to common law, which was the centre point of the 2013 reforms that bought us into alignment with other states.
Sunshine Coast businesses believe the scheme, as a result of 2013 changes, has had the balance between employees and employers restored.
The reforms achieved the most efficient means of delivering fair outcomes for all stakeholders and came after spiralling common law claim numbers that were 40% higher than five years earlier.
CCIQ is committed to best practice workers' compensation arrangements for the protection of all local employers and workers.
The small business community urges the Palaszczuk government to maintain the real fairness in the system, and thereby ensure the interests of both the employee and employer are met.
- Kimberley Lynch is CCIQ's regional manager for the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay
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