Workers compensation in Western Australia: The shifting landscape of workers' rights

Guthrie, Rob; Barns, Angela
June 2008
Health Sociology Review;Jun2008, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p41
Academic Journal
In 2004 and 2005 the West Australian Labor Government significantly amended the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981 (WA) (the Act). These amendments followed over a decade of shifting power plays and uncertainty for the many stakeholders in the system. The significance of these state-based reforms cannot be underestimated, providing a localised example of a broader contestation between the interests of private business and the shifting terrain of industrial citizenship. This article documents the last decade of workers compensation reforms within Western Australia and a summary of changes which ultimately took effect in November 2005. In keeping with the post-modern emphasis on context, this paper locates the Western Australian changes within a broader discussion of the shifting landscape of rights and entitlements engendered through neo-liberal discourse. In particular, as this paper explores, the changes to Western Australian workers compensation policy can be read as a reflection on the way employers, government and the insurance industry interpret and engage with the continuing realignment of worker entitlements.


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