THE New South Wales Opposition, has renewed calls for the urgent establishment of an open judicial inquiry into the Workers Compensation Scheme, which would make recommendations about how best to fix the system, said Member for Bega and Opposition Whip, Russell Smith.

Mr Smith said that given the growing division within the ranks of the Labor Party and concerns by unions, business and workers generally over the Carr Government’s proposed changes, an independent arbiter was needed to step in and make sense of the mess.

“Given the public outcry from nearly every quarter over the proposed changes to the Workers Compensation Act, Premier Carr should immediately establish a judicial inquiry to investigate the current scheme and make recommendations as to how to fix it” he said.

“Under the Carr Government the scheme’s unfunded liability has blown out by $500 million just in the last six months to a total of $2.18 billion, despite ever increasing premiums for small business.”

Mr Smith said that clearly there are problems with the system, but given the anger generated by the Government’s changes to the scheme without any prior consultation, the result is a deadlock.

“An inquiry would ensure that all future decisions taken on workers compensation reform are based on the best information and research available.

The Carr Government will never reform anything in NSW, if it continues to act in such an arrogant and heavy handed fashion by locking out and refusing to first consult with major stakeholders and the community at large,” Russell Smith concluded.

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