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Comcare: ACT government gets $80m insurance bill

The ACT government has the fourth-highest insurance premium of 120 government organisations covered by Comcare.

The territory has been billed $80 million for 2013-14 - a 14 per cent year-on-year increase mostly caused by $7.6 million added by Comcare as part of a new levy.

The new charge is part of a 10-year plan by Comcare to get its books back in order after reporting hefty losses in the past two financial years.

Insurance costs for the ACT government will have more than doubled in eight years if the latest bill is not appealed and reduced.

A government strategy has reduced injuries to ACT public servants in recent years but the figures show this has not stopped the total insurance cost from increasing.

''The ACT public service has also experienced a slight increase in the amount of time that injured workers on average require to recover and return to work,'' a spokeswoman from Chief Minister Katy Gallagher's office said.

''There have also been increases in the type and duration of compensation benefits available under the Comcare scheme - for example, the introduction of presumptive coverage for firefighters with certain types of cancer.''

The organisation with the highest Comcare premium of 9.5 per cent was Aboriginal Hostels Limited, a national body which has its headquarters in Woden and provides training and up to half a million nights of accommodation to indigenous Australians each year.

A statement from Aboriginal Hostels said it was aware of its high-ranking with Comcare and that improvements were being made to reduce injuries.

Ranked No. 2 on the list was the Army and Air Force Canteen Service Board of Management at 6.2 per cent, then Comcare itself at 4.2 per cent.

The territory government's 3.89 per cent premium was followed in fifth place by the Australian Federal Police.

Like the police force, the ACT government employs a lot of people in high-risk occupations, such as nurses, corrections officers, firefighters, paramedics and parks rangers.

Ms Gallagher said last year that it would be worthwhile considering breaking away from Comcare and self-insuring.

The government still has the option of appealing its latest bill.

The spokeswoman from her office said the government successfully appealed its 2012-13 Comcare bill to reduce it from $73.1 million to $70.8 million.

If the latest bill is not lowered, the ACT's insurance cost will have increased by more than 100 per cent in eight years, from $35 million.

Comcare ended the 2012-13 year with a second consecutive deficit, which totalled $98.3 million compared with a revised 2011-12 operating deficit of $687.3 million.

Its 2012-13 annual report said premiums increased by an average of 25 per cent.

Comcare covers 218,000 public servants and 167,000 private sector workers.

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