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Government starts Workers Comp roll back – more to be done

Jun 26, 2014News

The NSW Liberal National Government has started to realise the cruel effect that their severe cuts to workers compensation have had on injured workers and their election prospects.

In much the same way as the Howard Government rolled back WorkChoices slightly before the 2007 election, the NSW Liberal National Government has announced the following rollbacks realising the widespread unpopularity the cuts have had with the community with an election next March.

– Access to hearing aids, prosthesis and domestic care/modifications until retirement age (prior to 2012 this was until no longer needed by the worker)

– Reducing the access threshold to ongoing medical benefits to 21% (previously this did not require a threshold)

–  Providing up to 12 month weekly expenses for workers injured post retirement age (this still has a cap on medical expenses for 12 months after the weekly expenses finish when this was provided until no longer needed previously)

– Clearing up the work capacity process partly by requiring the insurer to continue to pay the injured worker until appeal rights are terminated (this is removing the ridiculous problem of WorkCover’s making whereby the WorkCover Authority has been taking up to 6 months to review work capacity decisions whilst a worker is cut off from workers compensation and often Centrelink)

–  “Clarifying” the entitlement for a second surgery outside the time limit imposed by the 12 month cap imposed in June 2012 (we are unaware of the detail of this provision as a number of procedures require successive multiple surgeries such as knee arthroscopies and replacements)

The detail of the changes will need to be scrutinised when more detail than included in a media release is provided.

Unions NSW has acknowledged that the Minister Perrottet has listened to a number of workers concerns after unions met with him two weeks ago, we call on the government to continue to restore justice for injured workers in the short term by adopting in completeness the other affordable measures contained in the attached letter to him.

Congratulations to all workers and the Injured Workers Support Network for maintaining pressure on the NSW Government to commence repeal their changes.

Click here to read the government’s announcement, and here to read an article about the changes in the Sydney Morning Herald.