WorkCover cut to the bone

I opposed the Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 and the Safety, Return to Work and Support Board Bill 2012. After a sham Inquiry, the Government pushed through changes that will hurt injured workers. Marathon sittings were imposed, with the final vote on minor amendments after 2.30am Friday.

Reduced benefits and payments apply immediately.

The Government says that the scheme has massive debt and needs to cut costs, but others have pointed to management and administration costs and loss of investment income as the problems. Premiums and scheme administration were not changed.

Travel to work will no longer be covered unless there is a clear link with the job, with police, firefighter and paramedics exempted.

Payments have been reduced and will cut off earlier, lump sum payments are more difficult to obtain, incapacity limits increased, and ongoing medical and rehabilitation costs transferred outside the scheme to the community. WorkCover will only cover diseases and injuries where work or the workplace can be proven as the main cause.

Insurers will review complaints about their decisions and a new WorkCover Independent Review Officer will decide disputes. A new Safety, Return to Work and Support Board will govern the WorkCover Authority, Motor Accidents Authority and Lifetime Care and Support Authority.

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