Barry O’Farrell’s savage cuts to workers compensation passed the NSW Parliament late last night despite opposition from both the Greens and the NSW ALP, but benefits for firefighters and paramedics were protected due to successful Greens’ amendments to protect emergency service workers.
Greens NSW MP and Industrial Relations spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“These savage compensation cuts show Barry O’Farrell’s administration to be the most radical and ideologically driven government in NSW since WWII.
“In a single night workers lost their entitlement to lump sum compensation for pain and suffering, ongoing medical payments, protection during journeys and widows lost the right to claim for nervous shock.
“Disgracefully, the government joined with the Reverend Fred Nile to abolish the entitlement that injured workers have to have their legal costs paid, even if they win their cases against insurance companies.
“The changes are even more fundamental when you realise that they almost entirely retrospective, applying to all prior injuries, even where workers have long settled their cases.
“The one glimmer of light from the Parliament’s savage cuts was the acceptance of the Greens’ amendments, despite opposition from the government, to ensure firefighters and paramedics obtain the same protection from these changes as was being proposed for police and SES members.
“This is not the end of the matter; over the coming days, months and years the savagery and unfairness of these changes will become apparent to the broader community.
“The Greens will join with unions and injured workers to press for a return to fairness and dignity in the NSW workers compensation scheme,” Mr Shoebridge said.