Up to 20,000 injured workers across NSW will lose medical benefits this New Year’s Eve


According to the Law Society of NSW, up to 20,000 injured workers across NSW will lose essential medical benefits this New Year’s Eve under changes to workers’ compensation.

Up to 20,000 injured workers across NSW will lose medical benefits this New Year’s Eve

Government plays Scrooge at the expense of injured workers

Law Society: workers comp changes

President of the Law Society of NSW, John Dobson, said under changes introduced in June last year workers who were entitled to essential treatment and medical expenses for life will no longer receive them after 31 December.

“Thousands of injured workers who rely on ongoing treatment and medical expenses will be affected despite many having serious injuries that require ongoing medical assistance,” Mr Dobson said.

“For example, a worker with an amputation injury who has up until now been having their artificial limbs replaced by the insurer will now lose this entitlement.

Mr Dobson said the changes are particularly harsh for those who have returned to work but have been receiving continuing treatment to enable them to function.

Workers like Frederick, a 63 year old truck driver who injured his knee whilst at work in February 1995. Fredrick now requires knee replacement surgery, however this is no longer available.

Or 55 year-old Albert from Beacon Hill, who suffered a shoulder injury working for Sydney Water where he was employed for 21 years. Under the changes, Albert can no longer undergo shoulder reconstruction surgery, and will be unemployable having to rely on Centrelink.

Mr Dobson said that the government’s workers’ compensation scheme is broken and needs a review.

“The scheme is failing to make essential payments to injured workers and it is certainly not encouraging many of them back into the workforce, which was the stated aim of the reforms,” Mr Dobson said.

“Savings made within the scheme which have recently been announced have only been made possible at the expense of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

“The NSW Government must now go back to the drawing board and fix the scheme so that it works for the people of NSW, and not just deliver budget savings to the O’Farrell government,” he said.

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“The NSW government must now go back to the drawing board and fix the scheme so that it works for the people of NSW, and not just deliver budget savings to the O’Farrell government.”

A parliamentary committee will examine the workers compensation changes at public hearings in March. A statutory review of the changes is also slated for next year.

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7 Responses to “Up to 20,000 injured workers across NSW will lose medical benefits this New Year’s Eve”

  1. At A Loss, I could not agree more, but what is needed is a law firm or constitutional lawyer prepared to take this to the High Court and as they don’t see much money in it, it is not going to happen. However if each injured worker affected by this was prepared to join a class action then something could be done. I am yet to see anyone do anything, but maybe after Gouddapel, it might be easier.

  2. The Australian Parliament’s Legislation Handbook, which provides recommendations for legislative procedure, suggests the following with regard to retrospective legislation at [6.18]:
    Provisions that have a retrospective operation adversely affecting rights or imposing liabilities are to be included only in exceptional circumstances and on explicit policy authority (see sub-paragraphs 4.7(g) and 4.17(c), and paragraph 8.19). (See also paragraphs 4.24 to 4.27 concerning announcement of legislation to operate from the date of announcement.)
    how is it that O’Farrell’s retrospective laws are not imposing liabilities on the injured and the commonwealth, why are they still operating?

  3. Please also be aware that the ofarrell govt introduced a tighter Sicorp arrangement . All nsw govt agencies have deeds and contractual arrangements with TMf Sicorp and that’s controlled by a super suped up legal panel and sub legal panel…they all get rewarded if they meet govt KPIs. And minimise costs. Ie aim is to cut workers entitlements. It’s a risk management. Exercise. Have a fossick through the Sicorp legal portal. And. Get to know which firms they use .
    Do prepare your own index of medical data to submit at appointments .Do study the medical tests they do on you know how they conduct them and know your own anatomy

    Also. As in my case insurer cut entitlements through illicit conducts. They are breaching s 54. Not notifying. Not explaining reasons for decision not following guidelines and not following BESt practice xxxxx cause the best prac guides haven’t been darn written

    Don’t get emotional get smart and make complaints to local politicians. Make this public.

  4. Im not in NSW but ive read much that the changes to workcover in NSW being branded as “draconian”, “inhumane”
    I was thankful I was not in NSW.
    Thought the changes in NSW must be really bad so I just had a look at a comparison chart of workcover schemes around Australia but after these recent changes in NSW, NSW is still the most generous scheme in the country.
    In relation to medicals, in NSW medicals now cease 12 months after weekly benefits end. That’s the same as its always been in VIC and the other states. Yep I understand that in NSW after your claim ended you still got medicals for life and yes that’s a cut to what people were getting, but its still now no worse than any other state.
    Is this nothing more than chest beating by the unions and other groups or did no one in NSW read the details to realise that being injured in NSW is still by far better off than injured in other states?
    I don’t mean NSW benefits should be no better than any other state and no one likes to lose something they were previously getting, Im just now having trouble reconciling the claims of “draconian” and “inhumane” when the NSW scheme is still far better than other states.
    I am asking a serious question here.

    • Never compare bad with bad, you end up with a bad result. As a victim of the draconian NSW amendments, I can assure you that they are inhumane. Try having the extra angst of not knowing what the hell is going to happen to you for over a year as well as the extra harassment by case managers forcing you to have work capacity assessments whenever they feel like it. Add to that the lack of any avenue of appeal, you have to take it right to the Supreme Court of NSW if you want any action (the cost is prohibitive as well), AND the provision that you cannot appeal even procedural matters and get legal advice (this was specifically passed by Fred Nile and other parasites in the Coalition and Killers Party who said in legislation that lawyers could not be paid for giving advice). The Unions tried with petitions, always ignored, even by injured workers. I suppose that if you have nothing and a bit of crumb appears, that bit of crumb looks awfully good, but the point is and always has been that what was done in NSW was duplicitous, totally unfair, a breach of faith legally and a role model for other states to follow. If it is accepted as better, does that mean injured workers in other states would be ecstatic when their laws are amended mid stream – common law demands that the law be known at the time. It may be better compared to others (which I doubt) but it was much much better before, even if not perfect.

  5. 60,000 injured workers in NSW will have their medical benefits snatched from them at midnight, a decision Unions NSW has described as cruel and heartless.

    “While the rest of us are enjoying Christmas and the holiday season, people who are already suffering from serious injuries sustained at work are staring down the barrel of financial devastation,” Unions NSW Deputy Assistant Secretary Emma Maiden said.

    “When someone gets badly injured at work – through no fault of their own – someone has to pay the bills. The O’Farrell Government has decided it is the workers themselves, and for many that means living in poverty.

    The party which has been let off the hook are the insurers. There has been a disgraceful transference of wealth from injured workers to big insurance companies.”

    Unions NSW also slammed the O’Farrell Government for cruelly and quietly opening up a small window of opportunity just before Christmas – only to slam it again today.

    Just ten days ago the NSW Government quietly passed a regulation allowing workers to continue claiming benefits if they got approval from their insurers. Yet the announcement was only made in the Government Gazette on December 20, 2013 and the window of opportunity closes today (December 31, 2013), leaving injured workers back out in the cold.

    Ms Maiden said thousands of injured workers who needed surgical procedures earlier this year would have been told they could not get them because the window was closing on December 31, 2013. They would not have been told the government was planning to open up a window which would allow them to continue claiming medical benefits.

    “Finance Minister Andrew Constance needs to explain why he issued a lifeline to injured workers without telling anyone he was doing it. He also needs to explain why he is snatching that lifeline away today,” she said.

    “What the O’Farrell Government has done here is to trick and deceive injured workers out of getting the surgical procedures they need.

    “Thousands of workers could have undergone the procedures they needed this year if they had known that the government was opening up a window of opportunity. Yet because when the window opened on December 20 and was not announced publicly, thousands who deserve to keep their benefits will miss out when the window closes today.

    “Workers across the State will now be realising that they could have received the life-changing operations they sought, if only the government had not been so tricky and deceptive.”


    workcovervictim3 December 31, 2013 at 9:03 am
  6. Until injured workers unite and become a treat to pollies we will continue to get shafted. Perhaps Frederick should take one for the team, like get in his truck and mow down a pollie or insurance company CEO then blame his bad knee for not being able to stop in time. That would get the bastards take notice of Frederick and his knee replacement problem. I’m sure he would find enough mates to help with his legal bills if necessary, not that a jury would ever convict him.