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The Workers Compensation Amendment Act 2012


An urgent plea to all NSW workers and politicians from the Injury Support Network Inc (ISN)


This cruel Amendment Act was forced through Parliament, and passed in the middle of the night by the Upper House. An Upper House whose balance of power is held by Robert Borsak and Robert Brown, of the Shooters and Fishers Party and Fred Nile for the Christian Democrats.
In February 2012 Minister Pearce informed ISN, and I quote
“ workcover is a basket case that can’t be fixed “ , injured workers live this “basket case”, and so will all who are injured in the future, unless you are a firefighter, miner, paramedic, police officer, dying from dust disease or an emergency volunteer. They are not affected by the amendments and remain on the old scheme.


ISN has achieved a win for injured workers, such as it is. We were instrumental in gaining back some legal representation but, the devil is in the detail. WorkCover will now decide if an injured worker is in need of legal advice. At their discretion, and their decision is binding. They may choose to send your request for legal assistance to their panel of legal advisors , whose decisions are also binding.
As it currently stands. If an injured worker wants to appeal a binding, work capacity assessment. They will need to engage a lawyer, at their own cost, and take their grievance to the Supreme Court, where a judge will decide your capacity to work.

All requests by GP’s to acquire a diagnosis , and any treatment for an injured worker, will be decided by a case manager of an Insurance company, contracted to WorkCover. These case managers may soon be based in India. There decision is binding.
So transparent. No diagnosis, no injury, see you later. You can be sacked from your job and directed to Newstart, unemployement benefit, which in this country is $245 p/w. Shame on the Federal Government of Australia for that abuse on its citizens.
You will also become a burden on the Medicare system.
I have not yet received a reply from Rob Oakeshott, as to what the Federal Government feels about the possibility of up to 25,000 currently injured workers , who are not exempt from these amendments, who will be coming their way ,over the next 12 months. I have made several requests for answers, and I believe that, so far, Rob has written letters of inquiry, to other politicians. I can’t confirm this, as I have not received copies.


The icing on any, unexempt, injured workers cake, past, present and future, is that employers will not want to hire you.
The NSW Business Chamber has informed ISN that they do not, and have no intention of, advising their members to hire anyone, who has had an injury, in a previous job.


WorkCover have incentives for business, to hire people injured in a previous job but, they don’t advertise them. It is called the Job Cover Placement Program. I suppose they are right in not advertising, it would just be more waste, if employers will not hire you.
This cycle for an injured worker, will continue with Centrelink. You will be required to attend a rehabilitation provider, to assist you in gaining employment, with business that won’t employ you. These are the same Rehabilitation providers that WorkCover use. Only the cost is now shifted from State to Federal.


The Daily Telegraph reporter, Ben Pike, Thursday 15th Nov, has an article about how the United Services Union is getting into the insurance game, to protect its members journey claims. Will they have case managers in India, and will this union be using any of the same insurance companies, who have been implicit in the destruction of the rights of injured workers in NSW. Past present and future.


The NSW Public Service Commissioner, Graeme Head, has just released a report, commissioned by Premier O’Farrell, into workplace bullying in the NSW Public Service. It has found that 48% of NSW public servants are, or have been, bullied. That leaves the other 52%, to do what ? This survey also cited a lack of trust, service, accountability and integrity. All the things a NSW government, and its servants, are sworn to uphold.


ISN agrees that the current NSW Liberal/National Coalition,inherited this mess from 16 years of Labor. This does not excuse their lack of will to improve the lives of injured workers, choosing instead, to crush them.
This Amendment Act will cause a major rise in homelessness, which in Australia has already risen 8% in the past 5 years.


There are already injured workers living in their cars.
Watch out for the rise in the suicide rate. 


Maybe, the next mission of the NSW Government, could be to commission a study on those 2 points, or, they could answer the questions put to them by ISN, and as an act of contrition, repeal these evil amendments, and take the time to get this scheme fixed.


The Directors of the Injury Support Network, on behalf of the people of NSW, formally request a meeting with Minister Pearce, and Premier O’Farrell. 


We urge the people of NSW to assist this urgent campaign and here is how you can.

We ask you to take a few minutes to contact any, or all, of the following: Your ;
State MP, WorkCover, GP, Employer and colleagues. Ask if they know anything about these amendments. Very few people do.

Please sign our petition at
http://www.communityrun.org/petitions/nsw-workers-compensation-amendment-act-2012


Pat Theoret, Director/ co-ordinator, Injury Support Network Inc

Obstinate Lawyer Backs Down

Yesterday we had a big win.
A member had been trying to have her legal file transferred to her new lawyer for 4 months.

After ISN advocacy, the file is now on its way!

Changes To Workers Compensation June 2012

The recent legislative changes to workers compensation, are a set back for people injured at work, in NSW. Please refer to www.workcover.nsw.gov.au and your legal representative for further information. Updates will be posted, as received. To date, the majority of the legislation that has been passed by parliament, has not been written into the Act therefore, nobody knows exactly what is going to happen. It has been speculated that the Act will be changed slowly, so that nobody notices, as the changes will be gradual but, the question of the laws being retrospective, is most worrying.

I have just been informed that scheme agents ( insurers ) are able to use existing information, ( doctors reports etc ) to determine your work capacity assessment. They do not have to send you for a new assessment with a rehab provider. Obviously, they will only use the reports that they want, and their decision is binding. If you wish to appeal, you have to pay for your own lawyer, and barrister, to do so. How many of you are prepared to pay this cost, without reimbursement, even if you are right , and proven so? If this assessment decides that you are able to work 15 hours per week, and you have had rehab assistance to get a job, yet don't have one, you will be cut loose from workers comp and will have to apply for newstart of $245 per week, and rely on medicare for your medicals.

We need to ramp up the lobbying. This is the only thing that will work to stop this legislation that has been passed by the NSW parliament, from being enacted. Once it is written into The Act, we have a much harder/longer fight.

Please join us in our endeavors to stop this legislation from being enacted.

On Friday 19th October, Matthew and I met with David Shoebridge, Greens Upper House MP. We have worked out a strategy that we think will work. ISN have engaged the Brolga Project to provide "long term " statistics. Something we can take to Parliament. Over the next few days, and weeks, we will be formulating lobbying strategies. If you have any ideas, please let me know, otherwise, support others efforts.

Regards

Pat Theoret

Director / co-ordinator

Green Slip Changes

Greg Pearce, previous  NSW Finance Minister tried to change the Green Slip Legislation in favour of the Insurance Companies without proper consultation with interested parties, in particular, motorists. Greg Pearce has since been replaced by Mr Andrew Constance as NSW Finance Minister who held a public forum to discuss the proposed changes. Details that emerged were very interesting. One, in particular, was that the Insurers claimed they would have to raise prices as they could not sustain the present system. This was deemed to be incorrect as the Insurers take 16 cents from every $ paid, to cover their expenses and 20 cents from every $ paid as pure profit. They are not doing too bad. The proposed Legislation was deemed unable to pass the Senate and has since been shelved but, we will keep an eye on any new proposals and bring them to your attention.

Pat Theoret

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