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Unions NSW hits campaign trail to head off WorkCover cutbacks | #NSWunions #AusUnions

THE NSW union movement will launch an advertising campaign today against a proposed overhaul of the WorkCover workers compensation scheme that may remove journey-to-work injury claims and put a limit on medical expenses payouts.

The secretary of Unions NSW, Mark Lennon, will lead a delegation to NSW Parliament this morning to launch the campaign, which will run on television, radio, billboards, buses and online and feature the stories of injured workers.

The campaign, which unions say will be the most widespread since the anti-Work Choices Your Rights At Work, is designed to coincide with a parliamentary inquiry into the scheme this month.

The government is considering cutting benefits under WorkCover by putting a cap on medical expenses payouts, removing coverage for injury claims on journeys to and from work and reducing weekly compensation payments.

An issues paper released by the Finance and Services Minister, Greg Pearce, also looks at excluding nervous shock claims from relatives or dependants of workers who die or are injured on the job.

Mr Pearce said the scheme needed to be overhauled as it was unsustainable because of a $4.1 billion deficit.

But Mr Lennon said the union movement was opposed to a reduction in the benefits for people injured at work.

”The last thing they need is for the government to swoop in and remove a chunk of the modest entitlements that allow them to maintain a dignified existence,” he said.

Mr Lennon described as ”disastrous” a proposal to place a cap of 2½ years on WorkCover entitlements, contained in the issues paper.

”So often we hear of how a workplace injury leads to chronic problems and complications and the need for ongoing surgery,” he said.

”If the cause of ongoing pain, suffering and medical need is a workplace injury, it is simply unjust to shunt this person onto the dole. Similarly the proposed cap on medical expenses would be disastrous for thousands of injured workers across the state.”

The parliamentary committee will hold public hearings into the scheme on May 21 and 25. It is due to report by June 13.

About Darin Sullivan (1967 Articles)
President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union and a professional firefighter with more than 25 years’ experience. Father of two daughters, he lives and works on the NSW South Coast, Australia. He is a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around him. He is a Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and works with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist he has long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. Now a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and has decades of experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. He is passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. Darin is also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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