We note in this regard that compensation payments to injured workershave fallen by almost 20 per cent from 2002 to 2010.And:We believe that in particular having regard to the significant reductionin premiums over the last 7 years, modest premium increases couldoccur to stabilise the scheme while a more thorough review of neededsystemic reforms such as the role played by scheme agents and theirperformance can be reviewed and developed.That was a view I heard expressed by Associate Professor Brian Owler, whois a neurosurgeon and vice president of the Australian Medical Association.Anyone who heard Associate Professor Owler speak to Linda Mottram on 702ABC yesterday would have heard him talk about his concerns about theproposals in this bill. He said it was a missed opportunity. He agrees thatthere is a problem but says that, instead of going after the benefits of workers,this Government should have been looking at how the system is administered.He talked about the sorts of decisions by agents
that is, the insurers
thatwe heard evidence of from workers before the committee. It is insurers whohave caused the blow-out in costs of this scheme. It is they who need to havetheir management approach and their administration structures addressed.We heard from him and from workers about the high turnover of casemanagers, decisions being made by people who have no medical training,who are not clinicians and who do not understand the needs of injuredworkers, who have no understanding of how long it takes for workers withvery serious injuries to recover or the sort of treatment they need and supportthey need to get back to work. That is the main problem with the scheme but,in keeping with all that this Government does, what does it do? It attacksworkers. It takes away workers' rights. It slashes their benefits. That is whatthis Government does. It is never willing to look at the real cause because theeasy target is workers and their representatives, both in the trade unionmovement and in this place.