Lawyers slam government's proposed changes to compo scheme

THE Australian Lawyers Association has slammed the Queensland Government's proposed plan to tamper with the workers compensation scheme.

Under the proposal, which was put to Cabinet by Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie today the government has flagged plans to scrap insurance protections for workers during commutes and lunch breaks along with introducing a threshold to restrict access to common law damage payouts.

Australian Lawyers Association Queensland president Michelle James said the proposed changes threaten the rights of every Queensland worker.

"Queensland has the best workers compensation scheme in the nation," she said.

"We do not understand why the State Government would want to change the scheme or what their motives are.

"If something is not broke, do not fix it."

Ms James said under the current scheme workers are protected while travelling to-and-from work.

"Under the proposed changes that will be abolished," she said.

"The other significant change which will affect the majority of Queenslanders is the introduction of a threshold which will restrict access to common law damages.

"This will stop a lot of people from even getting to first base.

"Thresholds do not look at the bigger picture. They only take in a narrow medical definition."

Ms James said 83% of Queenslanders, in a poll conducted last week, support the right of employees to bring claims for injuries that occur in unsafe workplaces.

"When more than eight out of 10 Queenslanders support the current workers compensation system, the government would do well to listen," she said.

"This polling shows they are out of step with community opinion."

Last year, a LNP dominated Parliamentary committee recommended the State Government leave the scheme as it is.



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