O’Farrel Government savages workers compensation in NSW

The O’Farrell government will take an axe to workers compensation, slashing lump-sum payments for the injured and removing long-term recipients of weekly benefits from the NSW workers compensationscheme after a set period, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Workplace lawyers said the changes, if delivered, would transform NSW into ”the meanest system in the country”.

Injured workers face savage compo cut

Grant Casey ... forced off work. Photo: Adam Hollingworth

The government has flagged its intention to overhaul the $13 billion WorkCover system, which faces a deficit of up to $5 billion. An announcement is expected as early as Tuesday.

The Sun-Herald has spoken to some lawyers and union representatives who are aware of the reforms being driven by the Minister for Finance, Greg Pearce.

They estimate half of the 28,000 workers who currently receive benefits and medical expenses would no longer receive a cent under the new scheme.
Barrister Bruce McManamey, a spokesman for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, said: ”It’s the kind of stuff that will result in injured workers losing their homes.”

The changes, according to sources, would include:

ABOLISHING lump-sum payments for injured workers with ”less than 10 per cent whole-body impairment” (and therefore excluding payment for injuries such as a fused ankle or back and neck injuries not requiring surgery).

A CUT-OFF after 2½ years (or 130 weeks) for weekly payments for those considered to be partially injured.

A LIMIT of nine years for all entitlements except for people who are ”totally incapacitated”.

At present, injured workers receive 100 per cent of their ordinary pay for the first 26 weeks off work. A scaffolder without dependents receives $1100-$1500 a week for 26 weeks, for example, before dropping to the ”statutory rate” of $432 a week if they are off work for longer.

Under the new reforms, there would be a sliding scale under which the most an injured worker could collect is 90 per cent of their wage.

After the 13 weeks, that would fall to 80 per cent before reverting to the statutory rate. The Sun-Herald put the proposed changes to Mr Pearce’s office in writing and the minister declined to rule any of them out. A spokesman said: ”We are committed to improving rehabilitation outcomes, better rates of return to work and better management of the scheme.”

[Barry the Butcher from: M Shoebridge Twitter]

Mr McManamey said NSW currently had one of the better schemes, but ”if they go through with these changes, NSW will have the meanest system in the country.

”It’s the kind of stuff that will result in injured workers losing their homes. People lose the ability to repay mortgages when they are thrown back on to social security.”

He said the majority of lump-sum payments were between $6000 and $13,000. ”If they abolish lump sums for injuries less than 10 per cent, I think it falls into the category of mean and petty,” Mr McManamey said.

The secretary of Unions NSW, Mark Lennon, also a director of WorkCover, said: “This state government is preparing to abandon workers and make their lives even harder.”

In February, The Sun-Herald revealed WorkCover was lurching towards a $5 billion deficit. . Lawyers believe the hit to WorkCover is about protecting NSW’s AAA credit rating.

One recipient, parole officer Grant Casey, 42, was forced off work in 2009. He suffered a disc prolapse after moving a table at work. Mr Casey said WorkCover’s ”slow-moving bureaucracy” allowed the damage to worsen. After two months, he returned to work on light duties but since has had major back surgery and a knee reconstruction and his pain medication has triggered irreversible bowel issues.

Mr Casey says he now faces the choice of working full-time or being ”medically retired”.

He has been on workers compensation for 18 months, and under the changes being considered would face being forced out of the scheme.

Sourced and forwarded to us by our star contributor “None” and simultaneously tweeted to us by @grathom with great thanks 😉 or shall we great sadness 🙁

 


[Original source: The Sydney Morning Herald 22 April: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/injured-workers-face-savage-compo-cut-20120421-1xdq0.html]

Shame, but SHAME on YOU Mr O’Farrel!
Shortlink: http://workcovervictimsdiary.com/?p=7175


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17 Responses to “O’Farrel Government savages workers compensation in NSW”

  1. If these changes are true then indeed this will be a very sad day for injured workers in NSW. O’Farrell will be killing injured workers by suicide — this is in fact what will happen if the cuts go ahead as reported.

    Who do we have to thank for this? Mr Greg McCarthy (greg@gregmccarthy.com), WorkCover’s former Chairman. This is a man who quit in a huff and a puff only to be back on WorkCover’s books within a few weeks but this time as a highly paid consultant. Just despicable of him and despicable of Julie Newman, Acting CEO. Why was there no announcement about this Mr McCarthy?

    Mr McCarthy quickly removed his contact details from his website upon his resignation from WorkCover. Thankfully, they remain available from a number of places: “You can contact Greg McCarthy by email or by telephone on 02 9526 2101 or 0417 679 041” http://pastebin.com/0VQ3cK6M

    Let’s tell Mr McCarthy what we think of his changes!

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  2. I am lost for words, really feel like vomiting.

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  3. Savage Workers Compensation Cuts Proposed by O’Farrell are Meanest in the Country

    A set of proposed savage cuts to workers compensation being considered by the O’Farrell government will deliver NSW employees the meanest set of benefits in the country and throw many people injured at work directly into poverty.  The Greens will vote to prevent these changes becoming law in the NSW Parliament.

    Industrial Relations

    See report on the cuts in the Sun Herald.

    NSW Greens MP and Industrial Relations Spokesperson, David Shoebridge said:

    “These are the harshest cuts ever proposed to workers compensation benefits in NSW and would, if they became law, force many injured employees straight into poverty.

    “If any of us are injured at work, there must be a fair safety net of workers compensation benefits to ensure we can continue to live our lives with dignity.  These changes will tear that net to pieces.

    “Cutting all lump sums benefits paid to injured workers who are assessed at less than 10% whole person impairment will see most receive not one dollar in lump sum benefits.

    “Under these changes, employees with injuries such as fused ankles after multiple rounds of surgery, serious lower back injuries and even significant scarring from burn injuries will all face getting no lump sum compensation as many would be assessed at less than 10% whole person impairment.

    “The proposal to cut off all benefits to partially incapacitated workers after just 2.5 years of payments will see many employees with significant ongoing physical injuries thrown off the scheme and onto meagre centerlink benefits.

    “The O’Farrell government is planning to take a razor to workers compensation, just like it has attacked the wages and conditions of public sector employees and work safety laws.

    “If these changes become law then many injured workers will lose their homes, as well as their livelihoods, after suffering an injury at work for which they should have been protected.

    “These changes are not inevitable, The Greens will be joining with other parties in the NSW Upper House, together with working people across the State, to protect workers compensation benefits from Barry O’Farrell’s savage cuts,” Mr Shoebridge said.

    http://davidshoebridge.org.au/2012/04/22/savage-workers-compensation-cuts-proposed-by-ofarrell-are-meanest-in-the-country/

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    workcovervictim3 April 22, 2012 at 8:32 pm
  4. What are you having for dinner tonight Barry ?

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  5. Barry’s butchery has been published in The COS magazine (Canadian Health & Safety)

    Read story: http://paper.li/cosmagazine

    Farrel may become a famous BUTCHER internationally and may be known for the rest of his life for slashing injured worker’s meagre workers comp benefits in NSW.

    Thank you to the @COSMagazine for spreading the word.

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    workcovervictim April 23, 2012 at 7:46 am
  6. Well, what goes around comes around, he, Mr Barry. You will go down in the history books as Barry-the-Butcher, how pathetic. Great achievement, hey? How do you sleep at night Barry-the-Butcher? How does it feel to take from the maimed and poor, the fragile and destitute? You should be so very ashamed of yourself. You have no morals, no values, no dignity, no respect. May you be butchered soon.

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    Barrythebutcher April 23, 2012 at 9:58 am
  7. QUOTE”We are committed to improving rehabilitation outcomes, better rates of return to work and better management of the scheme.”

    “WE DEMAND BETTER SERVICE”!!!…” WE DEMAND FAIR AND OPEN COURTS”!!!…WE DEMAND THAT THE WORKCOVER BOARD BE FORCED TO COMPLY WITH THE COMMON RULE OF LAW.

     

     

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    workcovervictim3 April 23, 2012 at 10:48 am
    • If that’s what we want then these pricks need to be held to account.

      When we see wrongdoing the individuals behind such wrongdoing must be held to account — one way or another.

      There are many ways of taking action against someone. Some more effective than others 😉

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      • Let’s formulate a plan of attack says Lisa – we many not be in NSW but we care as hell about our injured friends in NSW

        – there is David Shoebridge MLC (The Greens) anti-Barry the Butcher who says things are not inevitable re slashing in NSW – He says Greens will partner up with other parties in upper house -let’s get talking with David

        –  there are many unions anti-Barry the butcher – some have contacted our blog such as police union NSW and progressive PSA

        – Start a rally

        – what are your thoughts?

        Let’s DO something, guys, let this not happen to your compo scheme, it will kill many injured workers. There MUST be a way to stop this. Remember what the Vic Nurses achieved here a few weeks ago….

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        workcovervictim3 April 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm
        • Unions NSW  and Injured Workers Support Group have been working with all unions for the past few weeks on such a  fightback strategy.Contact your union or IWSG  to get full details on how you can participate .The press generated in NSW in the past few days is part of this…..

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          • Let me see, you are an accredited WorkCover rehab provider but you have been rallying against WorkCover? Is my understanding correct?

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  8. bazza you truly are what us aussies call a [use your imagination! ;)]

    Collienew

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    Hoveringoverhead April 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm
  9. Yes “hmm”- I completely understand your bewilderment.We deal with our cases on the basis that injured workers deserve some respect and support not being sent back to work just because an insurance case manger with no qualifications or an over zealous employer thinks the worker is a fraud.We make evidence based decisions backed by the injured workers treating doctor.We want workers back to work when they are medically ready and able to sustain employment for them and their families longterm.More often than not we take on the cases other rehab providers toss aside.Not unusual for us to take on workers who have had up to 3  or4 other providers who have treated them very badly. Often  this means free of charge – we’re not about the money -its about providing support and helping people get thier lives back.

    We stand by our track record  in making a real difference to injured workers and thier families in NSW……..

     

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    • Sounds like a great rehab place, wish there was one in Vic. But, and apologies for saying so, if you guys are releasing press releases, and setting up support groups etc in favour of injured workers, does that not mean that you will gain business? How does WorkCover see that? Surely your “rating” must be affected, as in no fast enough RTW, as the insurers want so much, even when patients are unable to?

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      • Yes this does effect our ‘rating” with WorkCover but our interest is helping injured workers get their lives  back ands then back to work. Its hard for insurers to argue with evidence from Drs and workers who have been educated about their rights under the system.We simply ensure that the system is utilised in the way it was intended – to support people getting well and back to work.For some that road has been long and treachorous for all of the reasons we see in our posts.

        We dont stand to gain much if anything  really as our groups grew from the people we already dealt with who saw a need and suggested a support group to share experiences and help each other.We have simply assisted in making it happen.To be clear the groups have been going since mid 2011 and the members  have helped other workers in many ways.

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  10. gutless ofart come on people make your voice heard  do some thing about this joker  he will stuff a lot of peoples lifes he dont give a shit

    do people forget what this bloke was like before 

    stand up  be heard 

    come on nsw

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