Results show scheme is in a sound financial position

The Victorian workers compensation system is in a sound financial position, according to the 2014/15 results released today by WorkSafe Victoria.
News article published

Thursday 17 Sep 2015

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Continued improvements in safety prevention and the best Return to Work results on record have helped achieve a performance from insurance operations (PFIO) of $211 million. Overall, the scheme posted a net result of $454 million.

The results were released to key stakeholders by Minister for Finance Robin Scott MP and WorkSafe Chief Executive Clare Amies at a briefing at the State Library of Victoria.

According to Ms Amies, the PFIO of $211 million reflected the sound management of the scheme.

“Performance from insurance operations is the best indicator of the scheme’s financial health, because it excludes factors which distort our underlying performance, such as global investment returns and fluctuating interest rates,” Ms Amies said.

“The strong PFIO reflects the ongoing commitment of Victorian employers to preventing injuries, our agents’ passion to improve and innovate, and the ability of WorkSafe to manage the scheme as efficiently as possible.

“These results have been achieved while continuing to maintain a high level of support for injured workers, which is the envy of every other state.”

Ms Amies said the PFIO would have been stronger, if not for an actuarial increase of $60 million.

“This is the first time in more than a decade that there has been an actuarial increase for the full year, and this is a sign of the growing challenges that lie ahead, such as pressure from common law,” she said. “It is why we must continue to seek out more effective ways to manage the scheme so it can remain sustainable.”

Ms Amies said she was pleased the number of injuries in Victorian workplaces had continued to fall - from 7.37 claims per million hours worked in 2013/14 to 7.34 claims in 2014/15. But the number of workplace fatalities remained a major concern.

“While Victorian workplaces can be proud that the state’s injury rate continues to decline, it is slowing, and finding ways to drive the injury rate lower will not be easy,” she said.

“However, it is a tragedy that 20 Victorians lost their lives in workplace fatalities last year, the same number as in 2013/14. Every workplace fatality is unacceptable and preventable.”

Ms Amies said that while the number of injured workers who needed four weeks or more off work had grown from 3.10 claims per million hours worked to 3.16 claims, there had been a record improvement in Return to Work rates.

“Over the past 12 months, the number of injured workers returning to some form of safe work within six months of being injured has been quite stunning,” she said. “This year, 80.61 per cent of injured workers were able to return to work within six months, up from 80.04 per cent in the previous year. This is a record result for Victoria.

“Everyone who works so hard to help injured workers return to work – the employers who provide suitable return to work opportunities, the doctors and medical support teams, and our agents who have delivered innovative rehabilitation programs – can be proud of this achievement.”

Ms Amies said WorkSafe’s many stakeholders had played a key role in the results.

“Employers, unions and workers have all contributed to reducing the number of workplace injuries in Victoria and making it the safest state in which to work, while employers, doctors and agents have all played a big role in getting injured workers back to work as soon as it was safe to do so,” she said.

“It is these strong and meaningful collaborations which contribute to WorkSafe keeping premiums low and keeping the scheme sustainable.

“I look forward to everyone working together over the next 12 months to deliver an even better result.”