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Lawyers back new compensation laws

Lawyers back new compensation laws

The Tasmanian Government says it has hit the mark with new workers compensation laws, but employers say the new laws will increase costs and kill jobs.

THE Tasmanian Government says it has hit the mark with new workers compensation laws, but employers say the new laws will increase costs and kill jobs. 

The new laws provide injured workers with full pay for 26 weeks instead of just 13, and workers will be able to sue their employer if 20 per cent of their body is damaged. The current requirement is 30 per cent. 

David Dilger, from the Chamber of Commerce, told ABC News the reforms are badly timed and will cost jobs, adding "the balance has unfortunately swung too far". 

But the country's lawyers are behind the reforms, claiming they bring much-needed support to some of the state's most vulnerable people. 

"We are in full support of the changes. These measures will help to redress the balance between workers and employers and show Tasmania has a heart," Australian Lawyers Alliance director, Greg Barns, said yesterday. 

The Australian Lawyers Alliance, a not-for-profit organisation that has traditionally represented plaintiff lawyers and lobbied to improve the rights of injured workers, said the reforms will provide greater income security for workers by increasing the level of weekly compensation, extend the period of entitlement and increase lump sum compensation for permanent impairment and death.

""[The reforms] ensure that before a claim for compensation is settled, the worker receives appropriate legal and financial advice and improved access to medical treatment after a workplace injury," Barns said. 

Simon Cocker, from Unions Tasmania, says employers' premiums are only increasing from about 1.9 to 2.2 per cent of wages, adding that businesses have had a good deal in the past decade. 

"We believe there's a balance that says it's affordable to put the premiums up a little bit and restore some of that benefit to the workers," he told the ABC. 


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