Today June 19 is the one-year anniversary of the state Government’s changes to workers compensation law in NSW which stripped many entitlements from all workers (public and private, unionists or non-unionists) – except, it would appear, politicians.
Unions NSW designated this Fair Go for Workers Compensation Day and held an event at Parliament House, where injured nurse Emily Orchard was a speaker.
The main elements of the 2012 changes were:
- Limited coverage for injuries while travelling to and from work [NSWNMA obtained journey accident insurance for its financial members in the wake of this cut];
- Cuts to weekly payments to injured workers from day one;
- Stopping weekly payments for most injured workers after two and a half years;
- Placing limits on medical payments for injured workers;
- Preventing partners of those killed at work being compensated for nervous shock;
- Eliminating access to lump sum payments for pain and suffering.
Twelve months after the introduction of these changes, injured workers and their families have felt the impact. For many this has caused severe economic hardship, pressure on family life and feelings of despair and fear.
Unions NSW conducted a survey to gauge the experiences of NSW workers and their families regarding the 2012 changes.
The survey was completed by 2,340 people from across NSW. 1,392 workers (60%) had suffered an injury or illness at work or while travelling to and from work. 130 respondents had a family member or co-worker either die at work or while traveling to and from work or from a work-related illness.
The survey also gauged the public’s views on the workers compensation changes. It showed that 93% of people opposed the NSW Government’s June 2012 changes. More than 92% of people opposed cuts to injured workers weekly payments after 2.5 years. Also, over 92% of people opposed the removal of medical payments from injured workers one year after their weekly payments stopped.
The findings from the survey clearly demonstrate a broad disdain for the NSW Government’s June 2012 amendments.
The Unions NSW report can be downloaded below.