17 June 2014
Injured workers who are struggling to survive on workers compensation benefits have been struck another blow by the NSW Coalition government with its budget decision to cut employer premiums by 5% rather than using this money to restore benefits that were slashed in 2012 ‘reforms’ .
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“Thousands of injured workers are living at or below the poverty line under this brutal scheme, but rather than restoring their benefits the Baird Government has chosen to cut employer premiums.
“Employers have already received an average of 12.5% cut in their premiums while thousands of injured workers are being denied any benefits because of the harsh benefit cuts in 2012.
“The 2012 ‘reforms’ were so drastic that even an amputated foot does not classify as a serious injury entitling an injured worker to ongoing protection.
“This was a chance to put some decency back into the system that the Baird government has squandered.
“The savaging of workers compensation benefits in 2012 has put the scheme on course to deliver a multi-billion surplus but, instead of returning this surplus to injured workers, the Baird government has decided to give it to employers.
“Instead of delivering premium cuts to employers this money should have been spent on providing fair compensation for injured workers.
“It is genuinely heartbreaking to hear the stories of people who have gone from a dignified life at work to a life of poverty and pain, simply because they were injured at work and the system no longer protects them,” Mr Shoebridge said.