Injury Management in the NSW Public Sector

The Auditor-General, Mr Peter Achterstraat, today released the “Injury management in the NSW public sector” report. The report looks at how well government agencies have performed against targets in the Working Together Strategy 2005-2008 developed to improve injury management, and what has happened since the strategy finished in 2008. “I am happy to report that during Working Together, agencies reduced the impact of workplace injuries,” said Mr Achterstraat. 

“While the number of claims remained steady at around 21,000, there were around 5,041 less injuries. Staff reported injuries earlier and returned to work faster. This has resulted in savings in lower claim costs and lower workers’ compensation premiums,” added Mr Achterstraat.

“But there is still room for improvement. The average cost of claims for the public sector was still 19 per cent higher than the private sector, and the incidence rate of claims for public sector workers was almost a third higher than the NSW labour force,” Mr Achterstraat explained. 

However, Working Together finished in 2008, the number of workplace injuries in the public sector has increased by 2,158. “Some of the benefits and savings achieved during Working Together are being lost. Claims across the public sector have gone up by nearly 15 per cent, and there has been an increase of around $17 million in the cost of premiums,” said Mr Achterstraat. 

In his report, Mr Achterstraat has recommended three key actions for continued improvement.  “The Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW Treasury, and WorkCover NSW should release an updated Working Together Strategy by April 2010. Secondly, individual agencies should set specific targets for themselves to reduce the cost of premiums, the cost of claims and the number of psychological injuries. Thirdly, commencing in 2010, NSW Treasury should require all government agencies to refer all alleged workers’ compensation frauds to WorkCover NSW and report performance against the Working Together targets in their Annual Reports.”

Today, Mr Achterstraat stated that:  “I am delighted to report that yesterday, the Government announced the release of a new Working Together Strategy. This addresses my main recommendation. This new strategy should build on what has already been achieved.”

Further information

Emily Watson, Governance Officer, on 9275 7408 or email