What a sad, sad day for injured workers in NSW. Yes, he will have blood on his hands, tragically.
The NSW government’s WorkCover overhaul will cap weekly benefits and exclude injuries sustained on the way to work, according to an internal briefing note.
The note was sent to MPs by Finance Minister Greg Pearce, who stated the amount paid to injured workers would also be reduced at a faster rate.
It appears the government will adopt many of a recommendations of a parliamentary committee that called for an overhaul of WorkCover to rein in a deficit of more than $4 billion.
“The NSW workers compensation scheme is unsustainable at it is currently priced,” the briefing note seen by AAP says.
“The bill will improve return-to-work outcomes, increase compensation for seriously injured workers and reduce the annual cost of the scheme by around 25 per cent.”
Under the government’s proposal, weekly benefits will be reduced after 13 weeks, replacing the current system of a 100 per cent payout for 26 weeks.
A one-year cap for the payment of medical benefits will also be introduced, with an exemption for the seriously injured.
Journey to work claims are out and the note says “cover for strokes and heart attacks can only apply where work significantly increased the risk of occurrence”.
The bill, which is expected to be introduced into parliament later on Tuesday, will apply retrospectively to existing claims.
“Changes to weekly benefits, medical costs and duration are to apply as soon as possible to existing claims, after the commencement of the legislation, and changes to lump sum compensation will apply to existing claims from the date of the legislation’s introduction,” the note says.
Mr Pearce wrote that increasing premiums to meet the deficit would “only exacerbate the current discrepancy – to the detriment of jobs growth”.
The government has previously warned premiums will rise by 28 per cent unless WorkCover is reformed.
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell wants the reforms passed by parliament this week and has told MPs they can’t break for the winter recess until the new laws are in place.
Police officers are exempt from any changes to WorkCover because they experienced drastic changes to their own death and disability scheme last year.