Dr WOODRUFF - Minister, page 149 of budget paper 1 on another matter shows that personal injury liabilities in respect of the Tasmanian Risk Management Fund were $50 million or about 30 per cent higher than was predicted in the 2021-22 budget. Can you please tell us why that is?
Mr FERGUSON - In broad terms, and I will ask the secretary to answer as well, it's a function of the actuarial assessment that's been conducted into the TMRF. I am not sure how often those actuaries do that work, it's probably fairly frequently. I have just had it confirmed they are conducted annually. I will ask Mr Craigie to jump in in a moment but that is a function of the actuarial assessment to bring up the best estimate of future liabilities to be attached to that fund and parliament had a debate on this. I will ask deputy secretary James Craigie to add to my answer to Dr Woodruff's question.
Mr CRAIGIE - Certainly, Treasurer. Workers compensation costs have been rising., driven by a number of factors. The first is just the size of the public sector. The cost of insurance is linked to the base and the size of the public sector and the total salary bill goes up so with that, workers compensation goes up and with more people you tend to get more claims. In recent times, workers compensation claims have risen because of the change and mix of claims. There has been an increase in psychological claims which has probably created that increase you are referring to.
CHAIR - Could you move your microphone, please?
Dr WOODRUFF - Has the changing risk of claims and the increase in psychological claims been a COVID-related change?
Mr CRAIGIE - It's very hard to say what has exactly driven it but it would be a range of factors. Part of it would be potentially the period of COVID we've been through and part of it would be attributed to society's recognition of mental ill health increasing and acceptability around recognition of mental health conditions. It's probably also partly due to the nature of the work that some sectors in the public sector do, particularly first responders - they're in higher-risk industries, effectively.