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Cost cutting O’Farrell sets his sights on WorkCover

Mar 28, 2012Update

An audit of the NSW WorkCover scheme has just been completed, and with a $4 billion deficit predicted by the end of the year, Barry O’Farrell says the system is in dire need of reform.

The RTBU is concerned that although O’Farrell has said there is no proposal to cut benefits to injured workers, slashing payouts would be the quickest way to solve the problem and keep employers, who want their insurance premiums to drop, happy.

O’Farrell wants to bring NSW in line with other states and changes could include reducing weekly compensation payments, cutting the length of time that workers receive payments and reducing injured workers’ medical benefits.

The union believes that rather than dismantling workers rights and cutting benefits, the real focus should be on injury prevention, injury management and more effective return to work schemes.

Unions NSW has called for the NSW Government to consult not just with the business lobby but with workers and unions to help make the scheme more effective.

The state government previously indicated it would consult with unions, employers and government representatives before making any changes, but O’Farrell has confirmed he will announce the finalised reforms in a month.

This short time frame leaves no time for genuine consultation – it looks like O’Farrell has already made up his mind to fast-track the changes regardless of the negative impact on vulnerable injured workers.