The Illawarra Business Chamber has welcomed a NSW government announcement that it will reduce WorkCover premiums, on average, by 5 per cent.
Chamber chief executive Debra Murphy described the premium cuts, from January 1, 2014, as a big boost for business in the Illawarra.
Ms Murphy said it was great to see one of the costs of doing business coming down when many other costs continued to increase.
She said such costs were a common concern at networking and business functions she had attended.
‘‘It is good to see something moving in the other direction,’’ she said. ‘‘With one cost coming down for employing people, possibly that means local business will be able to employ more people.
‘‘This is fantastic news for businesses across the Illawarra.
‘‘The reduction in premiums will help to reduce costs for local industry who continue to feel pressure.
‘‘The other good news is payroll tax is also mooted to come down. So the NSW government is doing things to soften the cost of employing people.’’
New research commissioned by the chamber showed that workers’ compensation was a major to moderate concern for 51.3per cent of small businesses in the region, particularly in the manufacturing sector.
Ms Murphy said the NSW and Illawarra Business Chamber had been strong advocates of the need to reform the NSW Workers’ Compensation Scheme that had a $4billion deficit and potential premium hikes of 28per cent.
It was estimated then that such a premium hike could jeopardise 12,600 jobs and job opportunities.
“The premium rate reduction for NSW employers is affordable because of an improvement in the scheme’s performance to make it more sustainable, and for that, the government should be congratulated,’’ she said.
‘‘The improved financial performance proves that looking after people who are injured at work and lower premiums are not mutually exclusive. This is a significant step on the path to making NSW a more competitive state in which to run a business.’’