The Minns Government has charted the future course for icare to better protect 3.4 million workers in NSW, with the passage of the State Insurance and Care Governance Amendment (ICNSW Governance) Bill 2023.
Icare is now legally required to be transparent, promote early treatment and care for injury and illness and to maintain the affordability of premiums. Treasury will also be empowered to access information to further support icare’s continuous improvement in accountability and transparency.
Astonishingly, since its creation under the former NSW Government icare has operated without objectives set out in legislation. This flaw was highlighted in the 2021 McDougall Review which made recommendations the Minns Government is delivering on.
The objectives introduced to the State Insurance and Care Governance (SICG) Act 2015 include:
- icare must maintain the affordability of insurance as well as the efficiency and viability of all the schemes it administers.
- icare should focus on providing access to treatment and care that helps injured persons get back to work and other activities in the community.
- icare should promote efficiency, transparency and accountability in the conduct of its operations.
Under the changes transparency and oversight of icare will be promoted with power given to the Treasurer and Treasury to request certain information from the state-run insurer.
The amendments also improve the way public interest directions are given to icare’s board by the Minister clarifying the advice the Minister must request from the board.
icare provides workers’ compensation for about 330,000 business and 3.4 million workers in New South Wales, managing about 60,000 new claims each year.
Minister for Industrial Relations and Work Health and Safety Sophie Cotsis said:
“Putting clearly defined goals in legislation for icare will give the agency a clear direction for the future and is yet another step towards restoring workers’ faith and trust in icare.
“The transparency measures introduced today will give the government more oversight of icare, making sure mistakes made in the past are not repeated and the agency is held accountable.
“These changes put workers’ compensation at the forefront of icare’s objectives, giving the agency a mandate to deliver the best services and affordable insurance to those who need it.”
Minister for Work Health and Safety
Minister for Industrial Relations