Media Release

17 September 2014 Final Report - Report No. 54 - 17 September

A unanimous Parliamentary committee report tabled today recommends the urgent restoration of some workers compensation benefits that were slashed from the scheme by former Minister Pearce in 2012.

The committee identified the scheme surplus at May 2014 as approximately $1.3 billion, heading to $6 billion in 2019.

The Standing Committee on Law and Justice Review of the exercise of the functions of the WorkCover authority makes important recommendations about the restoration of injured workers benefits including:
– Recommendation 6 that the Government promptly review the viability of restoring all lost medical benefits for injured workers under the scheme
– Recommendation 10 that the Government restore access to paid legal representation under the scheme for injured workers
NSW Greens MP and Industrial relations spokesperson Davis Shoebridge said:

“There is no doubt at all that the scheme can afford to return all medical benefits to injured workers to make sure that people who are injured at work receive reasonable and necessary medical treatment for life.

“It is just plain wrong that a worker can have an injury as severe as an amputated foot and, after a short period on benefits, be denied benefit and left to pay for their own prostheses, surgery and other treatment.

“Since the 2012 reforms many seriously injured workers have struggled to get their payments reinstated without help from lawyers, while the insurance companies have teams of well-paid in-house lawyers to defend claims.

“The absence of legal assistance for injured workers is grossly unfair and the scheme must urgently be amended to restore the right to legal representation for all injured workers.

“This unanimous report is a step in the right direction towards restoring reasonable benefits to workers and I look forward to the Government’s commitment to implementing all recommendations” Mr Shoebridge said.

The report is available here.