June 13, 2012
Thousands of Australian workers are rallying outside NSW Parliament today to protest against expected cuts to the state’s WorkCover scheme.
An issues paper released by the government in April canvassed a range of possible changes to the scheme, including putting a cap on medical expenses payouts, removing coverage for injury claims relating to journeys to and from work and reducing weekly compensation payments.
Unions NSW general secretary Mark Lennon said the proposed changes were the biggest attack on workers compensation benefits in more than 100 years.
“When it comes to workers compensation the O’Farrell government only has one agenda, a free kick for employers,” he said.
“If they want lower premiums … prevent workplace injuries.”
Nurse Emily Orchard was injured performing CPR four years ago and has had multiple spinal surgeries since, which she said were so painful she sometimes prayed for death.
“My entire life has been this injury for a long time,” she said.
She said proposals to limit the length of time workers could receive support for medical services would mean people such as herself would be forced to pay for their own ongoing hospital and medical bills.
“Given that I’m not currently working, how would I survive?” she said.