Further to At A Loss’s recent comment referring to an article that was posted on our allies (The Injured Workers Support Network) titled “Outrage as Liberal MP says workers’ claims are ‘ludicrous’”, which basically stated, from an article in the CFMU (NSW) that LNP member (Strathfield, NSW) Charles Casuscelli , who voted for the draconian workcover reforms,thinks it’s perfectly OK for an insurer to throw out an injured worker of the NSW workers compensation scheme as their decision is right – causing outrage to many injured folks; a brave and courageous injured worker actually contacted Mr Casuscelli to express his concerns….and you may be really interested in this exchange between the injured worker and his local member re NSW WC legislation, which he kindly allowed us to share with our readers.
Liberal MP says workers claims are ‘ludicrous’ – really?
Outrage as Liberal MP says workers claims are ‘ludicrous’
by injured workers support- source http://www.cfmeunsw.asn.au/sites/default/files/downloads/unity/unity61sept13web.pdf
Re-Introducing Charles Casuscelli, the LNP member for Strathfield who thinks it’s perfectly OK for an insurer to throw an injured worker out of the NSW Workers Compensation System as their decision is right. We can only wonder if the insurer followed the Work Capacity Decision – “Best Practice Decision Making Guide” as a recent decision made by WIRO suggested that no such guide exists.
Since the O’Farrell Liberal Government ran a wrecking ball through the workers’ compensation scheme in NSW, the CFMEU has been proactive in showing MPs the consequences of their decision. Each time the union receives notice about another worker thrown off compensation, it sends details of their cases to State parliamentarians. As CFMEU President Rita Mallia notes: “It is really important that when our politicians make these laws they understand the human cost of their actions.”
So Mallia was quite surprised when Liberal Member for Strathfield Charles Casuscelli demanded in a reply email “you stop sending me evidence our changes were long overdue”. “I … see no reason for your ludicrous pronouncements. You communicate nonsense.” The case Casuscelli was responding to involved 58-year-old Branko Music who suffered injuries to his back, shoulder and heel while at work.
After repeated surgery and rehabilitation, his 2001 injury has not healed and despite contrary evidence from his specialist, the latest work capacity assessment deemed he could work 30 hours a week as long as it did not involve “repetitive bending or left shoulder movements”. The insurer also helpfully suggested he could get a job as a delivery driver, process worker or assembler. Mallia is outraged by Casuscelli’s response. “After admitting to reading the file, Mr Casuscelli says our concern for Mr Music’s welfare is ‘ludicrous’ and that the insurer’s decision is right.
WHAT CAN YOU DO
Call or email Mr Casuscelli and politely let him know what you think of his attitude and the changes to workers’ compensation laws.
Email: ElectorateOffice.Strathfield@parliament.nsw.gov.au Phone: 02 9747 1711
The CFMU article(s)
The injured worker’s correspondence with LNP Charles Casuscelli
Sent: Censored September 2013
To: ElectorateOffice Strathfield
Cc: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Adam Grumley
I am a constituent of yours living in Ashfield. I am in my [age range] and have been a Liberal voter all my life, and returned home in 2012 to the Inner West after living in [censored] for a few years.
I have written to you previously, on [censored] 2013 and again on [censored] 2013 (these letters are attached), regarding my concerns related to changes to the Workers Compensation scheme in 2012. These changes are unfair and cruel and do nothing to rehabilitate or assist injured workers.
I have previously acknowledged, in my attached correspondence, that the NSW Coalition did inherit a mess from the years of Labour neglect. However, I would have hoped that the Government would approach policy issues with a degree of thorough investigation and well considered thought.
I have been a business owner. My wife & I won a [censored] Award for one of our start up businesses. I am a qualified [censored] and I have been a General Manager of a[ censored] company. I have reduced workers compensation costs in the past, by working with my staff to improve safety, being firm (but fair) and being empathetic.
However, this morning, I was given a copy of an extract of a reply that you wrote to the CFMEU regarding the plight of an injured worker, 58-year-old Mr Branko Music who suffered injuries to his back, shoulder and heel while at work. I believe that Mr Music has been thrown off Workers Compensation.
Charles, I would have expected that a representative of the people in this parliament would welcome feedback regarding the effects of the policies implemented by the government on his constituents. I note that the changes to the Workers Compensation scheme was designed by the disgraced MP Greg Pearce who was lobbied and entertained by PremierState. I also note that the proposed changes to CTP Greenslips were taken away from Greg Pearce (before he was sacked) and I hope that a thorough and unbiased analysis is made of the “industry” before any changes are implemented.
You are by now no doubt aware of the unfairness of the changes made to Workers Compensation in 2012. The insurance industry, which apparently detailed the changes they were seeking through PremierState to Greg Pearce, cannot lose. If the costs associated with the scheme increase, the insurers win (via their percentage share of the total cost of managing the system). If the insurers get injured workers “off the books” quickly, they win (be it fairly, or unfairly), via an incentive bonus!
I trust you have torpedoed any chance of promotion within the Parliament as any leader would surely be astute enough to keep you on the back bench to minimise the harm and havoc you are likely to create.
LNP Charles Casuscelli’s response to the injured worker’s email (a day later)
From: Charles Casuscelli [mailto:Charles.Casuscelli@parliament.nsw.gov.au]
Sent: Censored September 2013
Cc: ElectorateOffice Strathfield; ‘email@example.com’; ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’
Dear [Censored] – injured worker
It is always a pleasure corresponding with someone with a thoughtful and considered position on any issue let alone one as complex as Workers Compensation. Of course I stand by all comments made by me not only to you but to others.
I have also suffered from a shoulder injury that damaged the rotator cuff and I can assure you I am very well aware of the pain and ongoing issues, I have screws that hold my left shoulder together.
For your information the two comments to the Union, based on my taking the trouble to review the supporting documentation for the two cases in question are as follows;
“Thank you for providing evidence as to why the system required urgent review, if this is the cost of ensuring that seriously injured people in the workplace receive better care and rehabilitation services while making the scheme sustainable then I am for it”.
“Would you please stop sending me evidence that our changes were long overdue, I have reviewed the attached file and see no reason for your ludicrous pronouncements. You communicate nonsense”.
Of course I am not a doctor nor an allied health professional delivering rehab services so I am guided by what they say. I do welcome feedback, as do all of my colleagues, the changes to Workers Compensation did not happen without extensive consultation.
I did not enter Parliament to get promoted so I will not be overly disappointed if I do not. If I have disgraced myself by supporting changes to a scheme that EVERYBODY was complaining about, including the Unions, and in doing so genuinely believe that seriously injured workers are better looked after then I will have to live with my disgrace.
The injured worker’s response to the Mr Casiscelli’s email (on the same day)
Date: censored September 2013
To: “‘Charles Casuscelli'” <Charles.Casuscelli@parliament.nsw.gov.au>
Cc: “‘ElectorateOffice Strathfield'” <email@example.com>, <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <email@example.com>, “Adam Grumley” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: Censored
Thank you for your likewise thoughtful and considered reply.
I certainly agree with you that the Workers Compensation scheme was in need of a significant overhaul. However, the question that remains unanswered by you, the Minister or the Premier, is that the “changes” were all one sided. The Government targeted a classic soft target – injured workers.
From a morality point of view this deliberate targeting was and is reprehensible.
“Politically”, this cynical targeting of injured workers made sense:
Injured Workers are a small percentage of the voting public (minimal political risk)
One assumes that the majority injured workers would be Labour voters (minimal political risk)
Builds on the carefully crafted Urban Myth that injured workers are fraudsters or malingerers (appealing to the non empathetic right wing)
Creates the illusion that the decision is pro-business (any deal that creates a win/lose scenario is not a good deal – Insurance Company Profits will grow)
Passes on the cost of seriously injured workers to the Federal Government via Disability Pensions and increased Medicare costs (you can sell it as being “fiscally responsible”)
I do find it quite puzzling where you write “…. the changes to Workers Compensation did not happen without extensive consultation…” – if only the Government actually listened to the “extensive consultation” from independent contributors rather than Insurance Company employees, lobbyists and lawyers.
I am aware of an Insurance Company willing to pay a so-called IME (Independent Medical Examiner) a fee approach $2,000.00 for a report to assess whether $1,000.00 worth of treatment should be approved. This is a regular practice across thousands of cases throughout the State. Insurance Companies are given incentives to deny medically approved treatment, while at the same time increasing the cost of the system through unaudited waste. If the Government was sincerely interested in reform of Workers Compensation, then the Insurance Companies should be put under the spotlight. Stripping away waste and corruption from the practices of the Insurance Companies and implement a stringent audit process. This would reap a substantial economic boost to the State by substantially reducing the costs of Workers Compensation AND enable a fair and just system to exist for all stakeholders.
When you write “Of course I am not a doctor nor an allied health professional delivering rehab services so I am guided by what they say.” I agree. However, insurance agency case managers, have the power under the Government’s Workers Compensation legislation, to deny treatment irrespective of what any medical specialist may recommend. By you own words, you acknowledge one of the many flaws in this current legislation.
Firstly we thank the injured worker for making the exemplary effort to correspond with LNP member Mr Casuscelli, and in turn we thank Mr Casuscelli for actually replying to this injured worker and attempting to set the record straight.
Now what can we possibly learn from this exchange? Is the union taking things out of context at a critical time to sway voters? Or is Charles covering up his tracks?
We must never ever forget that Unions are also POLITICAL MACHINES.
We also can’t help but notice that the union in question has been kind of advertising – i.e. the recent article features a story of an injured worker who was injured on his way to work and states “he is also grateful to the CFMEU for its foresight to add Journey Claim Insurance as a benefit of membership.”
“The CFMEU has been fantastic,” he says. “I’m glad they added the journey claim policy because it’s been a godsend to us. “I don’t think the Liberal Government realises what a problem they created when they got rid of journey claims under the workers’ compensation cuts.
It is wonderful to see that the CFMEU has “remedied” the journey claims, however shouldn’t workcover be liable in the first place? The fundamental question we have is why are the unions not fighting to improve our workcover legislation?
Now whilst we really applaud the wonderful work of the CFMEU and many other unions, unions are labor-oriented and anti-liberal, and that’s OK. But what is not OK, in our humble and injured opinions, is to take commentaries out of context from i.e. liberal politicians, in order to sway voters.
[Posted on behalf of workcovervictim]