Calls for Qld Govt to lead the way on workers comp for gig industry


The Queensland Government should lead the way nationally and extend workers’ compensation rights to gig workers to ensure that workers and their families in Queensland are protected, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“Gig workers in Queensland are currently not equal under the law when it comes to workers’ compensation rights and there is no tangible reason why this ought to be the case,” said Sarah Grace, Queensland President, Australian Lawyers Alliance.

“The current changes being proposed by the Government only provide an option for the Queensland Government to extend workers’ compensation to gig workers if federal legislation is passed later this year.

“Queenslanders have the strongest workers’ compensation scheme in Australia and should continue to lead the way nationally with our scheme. Queensland gig workers should not have to wait for federal laws to be changed before they can access their state workers compensation rights.

“There is no valid reason why the wording of the workers’ compensation laws in our state cannot be changed now to allow a gig worker to be classified as a ‘worker’ and, in doing so, to provide clarity and certainty from the day the Bill is passed.”

The ALA has provided a submission to the Education, Employment, Training and Skills Committee, Queensland Parliament as it considers the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2024 (Qld).

“Workers’ compensation in Queensland includes access to timely treatment, rehabilitation and return to work assistance. In addition to this, and perhaps most importantly, workers’ compensation benefits include lump sum compensation to families and dependents if a worker is killed on the job.

“In 2023 we saw the tragic death of Uber driver Scott Cabrie, killed while working in Hervey Bay. In cases like this, any children or other dependents of the deceased – even if they are dependent on the deceased’s earnings – do not have access to any workers’ compensation benefits.”

ALA members are concerned that Queensland will see more serious injuries and, tragically, more deaths where workers are left without a proper and reasonable safety net and families are left without a loved one, and no monetary compensation to ease the burden.

Employers who pay workers’ compensation premiums for their workforces are placed at a comparative disadvantage to gig platforms whose business models are designed to not meet obligations, including workers’ compensation.

“Amending our legislation now will benefit injured workers in the gig economy and their familes and dependents, but it will also ‘level the playing field’ for employers who are doing the right thing and providing a safe and regulated workplace,” said Ms Grace.

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