Comcare reform: expect cut back of injured workers benefits

comcare-reforms

Tony Abbott’s Government planned changes to Comcare, the national workers compensation scheme, simply means that workers of the Commonwealth public agencies will have their current benefits cut back and/or cut off.

Comcare reform: expect cut back of injured workers benefits

The intended Comcare changes are contained in a Bill introduced before the Federal Parliament that would make changes to the current the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act. The Bill was recently referred to the Senate’s Education and Employment Legislation Committee for a ‘review’ as part of which public submissions were invited.

It is expected that the Education and Employment Legislation Committee will report its ‘review’ by 16 June 2015.

Eric Abetz, the Federal Public Service Minister is the man who stands behind the Comcare reform, and is to make cut backs to the existing Comcare benefits and entitlements as he sees fit “in order to make the Comcare scheme more sustainable”, which essentially means to make Comcare cheaper to run.

The Government’s major focus has been to reduce the increase in employer premiums to the Comcare scheme, which has recently seen some major employers including the ACT Government to leave the Scheme.

However, and as has been the case in all our state workers compensation schemes, instead of focusing on reducing the number of workplace injuries by means of tougher workplace health and safety compliance and the prosecution of health and safety breaches, the proposed Comcare amendments will simply remove or heavily restrict current injured workers’ benefits and entitlements. Again, the preferred easiest way to make the Comcare scheme more “sustainable” at the cost of all poor Commonwealth injured sods.

The changes to Comcare legislation are pretty harsh, and include:

  1. The number one priority appears to prevent bullied workers and those with psych injuries to make a claim, by changing and broadening the term “reasonable management action”
  2. Changing the method to calculate injured worker’s entitlements to weekly payments of compensation to a “step down” system (such as those used in our State workcover systems), which means that workers will no longer be entitled to full pay for the first 45 weeks.
  3. Introducing a new way to determining and assess claims for medical and like expenses, which will make it harder for injured workers to claim medical expenses
  4. Amending the permanent impairment compensation scheme, which will mean that injured workers with secondary psychological injuries will no longer be able to claim permanent impairment compensation, and that those assessed in the lower impairment levels (which is most injured workers) are awarded even less money/compensation

It is well worth noting that Mr Andrew Stone (president of the Australian Lawyers Alliance) describes the changes to the Comcare scheme as a further hit on injured workers, and Minister Abetz’s comments on “system rorters” as “intellectually dishonest”.

“the ALA remains strongly opposed to these proposed changes“, said Mr Stone

There are also worries that the changes will be used to attract more national private sector companies into a cheaper, heavily watered-down Comcare scheme, and as such out of the (little) fairer Workcover schemes.

See the Comcare site for an overview of all the proposed changes: https://employment.gov.au/frequently-asked-questions-about-safety-rehabilitation-and-compensation-amendment-improving-comcare

 



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5 Responses to “Comcare reform: expect cut back of injured workers benefits”

  1. Hi all,

    Seeing this post. Well it does not surprise or in any practical application of any such new policy. Makes no difference. No, not to me anyway and probably many others. As I’ve been bent over and reamed out many times before.The last 4 years, non payment, Allegedly now I can work although against all other Medical Panel decisions and in an area of no experience and so… ( 3/6/15 undergoing more Spinal treatment at Hospital).

    What do you expect, This is Australia, She’ll be rite. Wake up Australia! Our Polly’s are liars and thief’s. Any other avenue of law, the old rule would stand for previous conditions. But here they choose and pick which laws to apply and when. Guess who benefits, Not You!
    Wake up, lets kick ass. Get off your lazy arse’s and get rid of Abbott and any other Idiot Politician. Lets all rally together and take class action. Even consider international action on Human rites and rule of Law.

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  2. Imagine if tony abbott or eric abets got injured – hell they’d get the rolls Royce treatment. tony abbott in my opinion is the most arrogant, self righteous, PM this country has ever had. Any PM who laughs at other people’s misfortune is not fit to be in the top job. The sooner he stands aside for Malcolm Turnbull the better off the country will be.

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    • Well, according to an article in the media, public service minister Eric Abetz has snubbed the Commonwealth workers’ compensation scheme, according to lawyers groups, and will join an exclusive $1.4 million insurance scheme restricted just to MPs and Senators.. Guess why, duh!

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      • Just read the article in the media – further Evidence the abbott government is the most self indulged, self righteous, most entitled pack of incompetent jokers this country has ever had the misfortune to have in power.

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  3. I remember warning about this government back in 2013 and some injured workers did not like it. Here it is folks, they did it to us in NSW in 2012 and it was only a matter of time before they would do it federally, that is because it is part of their ideology. In the next election, I urge everyone to read the policies before they vote and ignore leadership problems in both parties, if everyone had done that then maybe we would not be facing this and trust me it is going to get much, much worse.

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