It will also provide $550 million to the WorkCover scheme so people injured at work can continue to access the necessary support needed to recover and get back to work.
In addition, the funding will assist businesses with efforts to prevent workplace injuries and better respond when they occur.
Victorian Minister for Workplace Safety Ingrid Stitt said Victoria’s WorkCover premium rate continues to be one of the lowest in the country.
“We’re doing everything we can to make workplaces safe and support injured workers, while keeping premiums low for businesses so they can grow and create more jobs,” she said.
“This investment means Victorian workers can be confident that they will get the help they need, when they need it — while making sure businesses are supported to keep their workers safe.”
It is no secret Victoria’s WorkCover scheme has come under fire in recent years, largely due to increases in the number, complexity and cost of claims — especially in the area of mental health.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only compounded the impact on WorkSafe’s sources of revenue — premium payments and investment returns.
It is positive workers aren’t afraid to seek help and are coming forward with claims, so the government is putting an action plan in place now to ensure the scheme remains viable into the future.
In a statement, the Victorian government said: “By maintaining the low premium rate this year, businesses will continue to have the support they need to keep workplaces safe, while recovering from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This comes on top of $350 million worth of WorkCover premium relief and exemptions provided by the government in 2020 to Victorian businesses participating in the JobKeeper scheme.
Work is well underway to improve the WorkCover scheme, including measures to better support people returning to work, a focus on injury prevention and tailored claims handling.
The government is also prioritising better prevention of workplace psychological injuries and early intervention when mental injury does occur, in light of the increased awareness of mental health in the workplace, and associated claims.
The Victorian government’s $50 million WorkWell initiative focuses on prevention by providing workplaces with the tools they need to reduce the risk of workplace mental injury.