Push to change journey claims will hit FIFO, DIDO workers

A PUSH to change a small but critical part of WorkCover law could put Gladstone's fly-in, fly-out and drive-in, drive-out workers at further risk.

Current laws cover all workers for accidents driving to and from work, and a recent review of the workers' compensation scheme has recommended no change to journey claims.

But the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland is pressuring the Attorney-General to introduce reforms, including taking away the right for workers to claim compensation if they have a car accident or other injury while travelling between home and work.

CCIQ advocate Nick Behrens said the current system was unfairly balanced, and dumping journey claims meant business could cut their premiums.

Thirteen years ago the cost of journey claims were $19 million, while today they are about $43 million.

But the government said claims had remained stable and put the increase down to wage growth and medical cost increases.

CFMEU Gladstone organiser Ben Loakes said journey claims were a small but critical part of the WorkCover laws for DIDOs and FIFOs.

"Only 6% of all WorkCover claims in Queensland come from travel to and from work; it's minimal on the grand scheme of things but it would save the government a lot of money," he said.

"The big one is on the construction workers - those blokes travel many hours.

"The sad fact is the number of guys who've died on the roads are categorised as traffic deaths, not that they died from the fatigue of construction work conditions."

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said the government would respond to all of the report's recommendations by the end of the year.

WorkCover

  • All workers are covered for work related injuries
  • Employers pay a workers' compensation premium based on the amount of wages they pay employees, their industry classification and their experience
  • In 2011-12 employers paid premiums of $1.4b to WorkCover
  • In 2011-12 WorkCover paid out $1.2b in claims costs

Source: Office of the Attorney General