Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie. Kari Bourne

Govt amended definition of worker as part of reforms

CHANGES to how a worker is defined in Queensland will leave many shut out of the state's workers' compensation scheme, an injury compensation lawyer claims.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie on Monday tabled in Parliament the Government's response to workers' compensation reform.

The Parliamentary Finance and Administration Committee had handed down 32 recommendations earlier this year following an inquiry into the state's workers' compensation scheme.

Mr Bleijie stated the Newman government had amended the definition of worker to align it to someone on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) tax basis.

Injury compensation lawyer Mark O'Connor said the changes could lead to harsh consequences for many workers, particularly in the building and transport industries.

"In many industries, but particularly the building and transport industries, employers call their workers contractors and force them to get ABNs," the Bennett & Philp Lawyers solicitor said.

"This can be in cases when they would otherwise have all the characteristics of being an employee.

"For example, their boss can tell them where to work, when to work and how to work and they use equipment provided by the employer.

"These workers will no longer be able to receive benefits if injured at work," Mr O'Connor said.

But on the other hand, employers occasionally employed people on the belief they were a contractor but faced liabilities when the contractor was injured and defined as an employee under Workcover legislation, Mr O'Connor explained.

The Newman Government has also adopted a recommendation to provide greater flexibility for self-insurance licensing.

Mr Bleijie wrote in his tabled response the government was still considering other recommendations.



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