LABOR SENATORS ADDITIONAL COMMENTS
Labor Senators of the Senate
Education and Employment Committee (committee) raise concerns on the Safety,
Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment (Exit Arrangements) Bill
2015 (the bill).
Whilst Labor Senators support
legislation to ensure that an exiting employer does not leave the Comcare
scheme without contributing an appropriate amount to cover any current or
prospective liabilities that are not funded by premiums the employer has paid before
exit, we must also ensure that no workers will be worse off under the bill, and
that the passage of this bill will not provide an incentive for employers to
We note that the reason for
referring this bill to the committee was to ensure a thorough investigation of
the bill, and allow sufficient time to consider the bill. However, since the bill was
referred to the committee the government introduced a third substantive bill
relating to Comcare, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment
(Improving the Comcare Scheme) Bill 2015. Given the introduction of said bill,
we do not believe that the
circumstances of the inquiry into the bill now meet these criteria, and the
opportunity for more thorough investigation of the interaction of the bill with
other bills relating to Comcare hasn’t been afforded to the committee.
The ACT government is in the
process of consulting about the workings of any new scheme. It does not yet
have a designed scheme and it will not for some time. Therefore, the expedition
of the government’s bill is unnecessary.
Labor Senators were not
convinced by the Department of Employment’s submission that the passage of the bill
would not result in a reduced premium pool in state workers’ compensation
systems, concerns raised by the ETU and the Victorian Government.
As such, Labor Senators urge
the government to request the ACT government provides written assurances to
ensure workers will not be worse off.
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