Today’s news that the NSW Government will reduce workers compensation premiums for some businesses while increasing it for others to encourage safe work practices fails to address the huge price injured workers are paying every day.   

Unions NSW contends that the entire workers compensation surplus has been borne out of the government’s deep cuts to workers’ rights and entitlements and any dividends, incentives or discounts should be redirected to those workers who have lost out.

Unions NSW Assistant Secretary Emma Maiden said it was inappropriate for the State Government and business groups to benefit from any surplus at the expense of workers.

"This further reduction in premiums for business is built on the back of sick and injured workers. While we have no problem with a carrot and stick approach to encouraging safe work practices and good return to work practices we don't believe premiums should be reduced any further given employers have already received premium cuts of up to 17.5% since the cuts were introduced. 

“Unions believe the best way forward is to increase premiums for employers that are doing the wrong thing and use all additional funds to support injured workers,” Ms Maiden said.

More than 5000 injured workers have been cut off from weekly payments and 20,000 have lost coverage for medical treatment since the Baird Government’s savage cuts in 2012.

Ms Maiden said injured workers are being penalised 14.5% from the moment they are injured because of an immediate 5% cut in their wages and a cessation of superannuation payments from the employer.

"Untold misery has been visited on some of society's most vulnerable people thanks to these cuts.  

"Now the scheme is back in the black, the Government should look urgently at further reversing some of the severe cuts to the system that has treated injured workers and their families so callously. The Government could ensure medical bills are paid for the duration of an injury and also increase payments if workers’ injuries deteriorate.

“While the Government’s recent changes were a welcome reprieve for a minority they do not nearly go far enough. A fair minded approach would be to look at helping the injured instead of putting more dollars back into the hands of business. We are calling on the Baird Government to return any surplus to the scheme to support injured workers in their time of need,” Ms Maiden said. 

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