WorkCover to get new anti-fraud powers?
Workers compensation fraudsters will face tougher investigations as the NSW Government urges the passing of wider document access powers for WorkCover and insurance companies.
Claimants and other information holders, such as secondary employers, accountants, banks and medical practitioners will be obliged by WorkCover NSW or a nominated insurer to hand over any document or knowledge that may help convict a fraudster.
The new provision under Section 238AA of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998 is slated for inclusion in an update to the state’s compensation laws due for introduction in September.
WorkCover’s regulatory impact statement notes that in the past six years only four instances of non-compliance had proceeded to prosecution and that none had been successful.
WorkCover issues around 290 notices under the existing act each year act but around five per cent of recipients fail to comply.
The problem with the existing law, according to the NSW Government, is that it must prove beyond reasonable doubt that a person has breached the section. The new provision would allow it to issue a penalty notice rather than being forced down the more challenging path of prosecution.
The planned amendments will also remove the requirement for businesses to retain injury statistics on paper records and instead will require companies to store data on current information technologies.