Ombudsman - Management of complex workers compensation claims and WorkSafe oversight

Written on the 15 September 2016




Ombudsman - Investigation into management of complex workers compensation claims and WorkSafe oversight


Wednesday 14 September 2016

Ombudsman Investigation into management of complex workers compensation claims and WorkSafe oversight


Ms CROZIER - Southern Metropolitan

I am pleased to make a statement to the Victorian Ombudsman's report Investigation into the management of complex workers compensation claims and WorkSafe oversight, dated September 2016. I have been looking through this report this afternoon, and I take on board the comments in relation to what the Ombudsman has found and has looked at: various aspects relating to workers compensation schemes, unreasonable decision-making by agents, the effect of the financial rewards and penalties on agent decision-making, and WorkSafe's oversight.

I note that in the foreword -  and I wanted to speak to a number of areas in this report.

The report says:

We looked at cases from all five WorkSafe agents, involving both public and private sector workers police and prison officers, nurses, teachers, truck drivers, farmers and many others, male and female, young and old


The report goes on and talks about a number of these cases. I am particularly interested in what is happening in the prison system and particularly interested in the youth justice system, because as we know the Andrews government has completely lost control of youth justice in this state. We have had some very serious riots, serious assaults and serious claims about clients attacking staff, staff leaving in droves and under-management. In particular I am referring to some serious concerns raised by WorkSafe Victoria in April this year. It goes to the point of some of the issues that have been highlighted in our youth justice centres, and I refer to the Melbourne Youth

Justice Centre in Parkville. This week we have had three consecutive nights where these kids are running absolute chaos and are causing mayhem throughout these justice centres.

I think this is a terribly concerning situation. The minister has got no capacity to bring it under control.

An article in the Herald Sun this week quotes a WorkSafe report, and it is the WorkSafe report that I am also referring to.

The article says:

The bedlam at Parkville came days after the Herald Sun revealed a WorkSafe report had exposed alarming risks to staff at another youth justice centre.


The article goes on to say there was a huge concern amongst staff about assaults, how they were increasing and the number of incidents in a period.

But I wanted to go to the report in relation to the WorkSafe report that I am referring to. There is a lot in this. I have had questions to the minister in relation to various aspects on the security and breaches of security that have occurred, but nevertheless there are some alarming notes that have been concluded. I just wanted to go to one area where the security emergency response team states:
five in training which delayed response. If one more client involved we were stuffed.

This is in the youth justice centres; this is in a WorkSafe report where the workers are seriously concerned about their safety. That is the language they are using in relation to their concerns. They are saying they have no capacity to control these inmates. There is an enormous degree of violence occurring. It is out of control. This report was back in April, after we had had riots last October, we had had riots in March and we had had review after review after review. And we have got another review of the incidents that occurred on Saturday night, Sunday and Monday, and still the minister cannot give us appropriate and proper answers to what is actually happening in relation to this chaos that is occurring throughout the youth justice system. It does demonstrate that the government has lost control. These situations are repeating themselves. These offenders who are in these prisons do not respect the disciplinary mechanisms that are going on, and they are putting themselves and the staff at risk. I think it is a terribly concerning matter, and I will have more to say on this issue.


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