5 December 2012:
Emma Maiden from Unions NSW discusses the cuts and changes to Workers Compensation in NSW:
11 October 2012:
Take a look at this story from The Central West Daily Newspaper about a young man injured travelling to work and Barry O’Farrell defending his exclusion from the workers comp scheme:
Central West Daily
26 September 2012:
In a significant win for unions and workers that have continued to pressure the Government about its plans to make workers pay their own legal costs, today Greg Pearce, Minister for Finance & Services, has announced a new Independent Legal Assistance and Review Service (ILARS).
While not as good as the previous system, this represents a significant back down from the user pays legal costs proposal originally passed by Parliament.
Features of the new system include:
Step 1: A free legal review service within the WorkCover Independent Review Office (WIRO) – no legal expenses need be covered by the worker.
Step 2: Reviews will be conducted by independent legal experts in the area of workers compensation.
Step 3: Where the insurer does not agree with the opinion of that independent legal advice, workers MAY be provided with independent legal representation to pursue matters in the Workers Compensation Commission following a merit review.
Injured workers who don’t wish to use this process or who do not get free representation granted under the third step, will need to take their claim to the Workers Compensation Commission at their own expense.
Any claims lodged before 1st October 2012 will be dealt with under the old scheme that allows injured workers to have proper free independent legal representation before the Workers Compensation Commission.
The new arrangements for costs and access to ILARS will immediately take effect for new claims made on or after 1 October 2012.
25 June 2012:
How O’Farrell’s Workers Comp cuts will affect you
New laws introduced by the O’Farrell Government are the biggest attack on injured workers’ rights in a generation.
Find out all about them in this handy flyer.
21 June 2012:
A whole lot of news today!
14 June 2012:
Workers compensation benefits are set to be slashed under changes recommended by a joint parliamentary committee late yesterday.
The committee’s report tabled in the NSW Parliament has made 28 recommendations. . You can download a full copy of the report here.
The recommendations include the following:
• Abolition of journey claims, which will mean that workers (except police officers) will no longer be covered for injuries while travelling to and from work. Recess claims will also be limited to circumstances where employment has been the significant contributing factor.
• Reduction of weekly benefits to 95% of average earning for the first 13 weeks, reducing to 80% from 14 weeks. The statutory rate of $432.50 will still apply from 26 weeks.
• “Less seriously injured workers” to be cut off from weekly benefits after 5 years. “Intermediate” injured workers will be cut off after 9 years. “Severely” injured workers will not be cut off from weekly benefits. These categories are undefined. It is suspected “severely” injured may be defined as 30% Whole Person Impairment (WPI), which would only account for a small fraction of injuries each year.
• Medical payments only be paid while someone is on weekly benefits, plus one year after weekly benefits cease.
• Abolition of ability of dependents of deceased or injured workers to make nervous shock claims.
• Mandatory, independent, binding work capacity testing at defined intervals.
• Make commutations more available.
• Change the definition of ‘injury’ so employment needs to be the main contributing factor (changed from “a contributing factor”) to the contraction, aggravation, acceleration, exacerbation or deterioration of the disease.
• Make it harder to prove negligence in Work Injury Damages lump sum claims.
• Abolish payment of death benefits where the killed worker had no dependants.
• Increase the thresholds for permanent impairment lump sums from the current 1% WPI (general) and 6 per cent WPI (binaural hearing loss) to 10% (with a 15% WPI threshold to be retained for psychological injury).
• Establish a joint standing committee of the Parliament to conduct annual reviews of WorkCover.
• Have the NSW Government commence an extensive, detailed review of the New South Wales Workers Compensation Scheme, which may lead to more cuts in injured workers rights.
The Government is expected to introduce legislation in Parliament to reflect these recommendations in the next few days. Visit or call your MP to register your opposition at these cuts.
13 June 2012:
Channel 7′s Coverage of the rally yesterday
13 June 2012:
Channel Ten Coverage of the Rally
13 June 2012:
Channel 9′s Coverage of the Rally
5 June 2012:
The Injured Workers Support Network provides assistance to injured and ill workers and their families. It connects workers with appropriate services and provides peer support through meetings where workers are able to share their experiences with others.
The IWSN currently has groups that meet in the Bathurst area and Sydney basin.
For more information see the IWSN website: www.injuredworkerssupport.org.au
24 May 2012: A Channel Seven Piece on the Workers Compensation fight
24 May 2012: A Channel Ten Piece on the Workers Compensation fight
20 May 2012: An amazing story from Channel 7 on workers compensation
Channel 7 talks to Emily Orchard on how her life has been impacted by Workers Compensation
20 May 2012: ABC’s News coverage of our TV ad launch.
Check out our TV ad:
Listen to Radio Ad #1 – Nurses
Listen to Ad #2 – Engineer
Listen to Ad #3 – Retailer
20 May 2012: Mythbusting – Setting the record straight on workers compensation
Unions NSW has hit back at a campaign run by the business lobby that claims jobs will be lost unless workers compensation entitlements are cut.
Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Lennon, said the business lobby’s argument to cut workers compensation was based on false premises.
“The business lobby has little credibility when it argues that jobs and investment will flee the state because of workers compensation premiums,” Mr Lennon said.
“Since 2005, premiums have come down by almost one one-third.
“Independent analysis shows that workers compensation premiums have very little effect on where businesses establish themselves. Infrastructure, the supply of skilled labour and the broader economy are the main game and business knows it.
“The business lobby should suspend its scare campaign about job losses. Instead, they should spell out how they intend to prevent workplace injuries and outline how they will return sick and injured employees to the workforce on appropriate duties.
“That’s what will drive down premiums – not attacks on sick and injured workers.”
20 May 2012: Unions Launch workers comp TV ads, announce rally.
The trade union movement’s campaign against cuts to workers compensation ramps up a notch this week, with the launch of TV advertisements and the announcement of a major rally.
The advertisements – a creative animation – will air on major commercial TV networks for the next five weeks.
They will be accompanied by a series of billboards on major roads across Sydney.
“The message in these advertisements is simple. Anyone can get injured at work and under these changes, everyone is vulnerable, Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Lennon said.
“Under the proposed changes, workers would lose protection on their way to and from work. Medical expenses would be capped and compensation would be cut off after two and a half years.
“The Government is attacking some of the society’s most vulnerable people, sick and injured workers.”
Mr Lennon will also announce details of a rally, to be held on Macquarie Street, at the front of parliament on Wednesday, June 13.
“Major workplace rights are on the chopping block here – the right to compensation for sick and injured workers is absolutely crucial,” Mr Lennon said.
“There’s no question that reform is needed, but it must not be at the expense of society’s most vulnerable people.”
16 May 2012: News piece from Channel Ten on the changes to workers compensation.
14 May 2012: ABC’s News coverage of today’s launch!
Head on over to the ABC’s Website here for more.
14 May 2012: The Campaign against Barry O’Farrell’s attack on workers compensation has been launched.
Here are some of the pictures from the launch!
13 May 2012: The Workers Health Centre has produced a video showing the human face of workplace injuries. Check it out.
23 April 2012: The Minister for Finance and Services, Greg Pearce, has announced the release of an issues paper outlining a number of options for changes.
To provide “an opportunity for consultation and review” the Government has referred the matter to a Joint Select Committee inquiry. The Committee was set up on 2 May and is due to report on 13 June 2012.
Submissions to the Inquiry are now open. If you have been injured at work, or know someone who has, we want you to tell your story. Click here to tell your story, and if you wish, send it as a submission to the Inquiry.
In addition, you can email your local MP about the changes.
Submissions close on 17 May 2012.
The hearing dates are 21, 25 and 28 May 2012. The hearing venue is New South Wales Parliament, Macquarie Street, Sydney.
The terms of reference are:
a) the performance of the Scheme in the key objectives of promoting better health outcomes and return to work outcomes for injured workers.
b) the financial sustainability of the Scheme and its impact on the New South Wales economy, current and future jobs in New South Wales and the State’s competitiveness; and
c) the functions and operations of the WorkCover Authority.
The Inquiry must also note and examine the WorkCover NSW actuarial valuation of outstanding claims liability for the NSW Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer as at 31 December 2011, and the External peer review of outstanding claims liabilities of the Nominal Insurer as at 31 December 2011.
The membership of the Committee is:
Hon Robert Borsak MLC – Shooters and Fishers Party (Chair)
Mr Mark Speakman MP – Liberal Party (Deputy Chair)
Hon Niall Blair MLC – The Nationals
Mr Michael Daley MP – Australian Labor Party
Hon Paul Green MLC – Christian Democratic Party
Hon Trevor Khan MLC – The Nationals
Hon Adam Searle MLC – Australian Labor Party
Mr Rob Stokes MP – Liberal Party