LOCAL businesses battling to keep their heads above water cannot afford a 28 per cent increase in WorkCover premiums says Paul Cox of the NSW business Chamber.
The increase is what WorkCover estimates it will need over the next 12 months to remain viable.
As the NSW Business Chamber Central West Orana region manager, Mr Cox thinks Orange business operators, like their counterparts throughout the state, are being hit from all sides.
He applauded the government’s commitment to reform the WorkCover scheme.
“The government should be encouraging business to put more people on by helping them create a better business environment,” he said.
“At the moment they’re being hit from all sides, from the carbon tax to increases in energy costs.
“An increase of 28 per cent would only hit them again.”
If the current scheme was allowed to continue, Mr Cox said it would prove a disaster for business owners across the state.
“NSW already has higher premiums than Victoria and Queensland so any premium increase will only exacerbate the many imposts on business owners throughout NSW, and further weaken their capacity to compete, and to provide employment,” he said.
“Businesses across NSW are in no shape whatsoever to accommodate any increase in employment costs.
“It’s clear we need other options.
“What needs to be found are solutions that are financially sustainable and at the same time protect employees who are legitimately injured at work.
“Those solutions need to include a reinforced emphasis on getting injured workers back to work faster.”