Macquarie University Workers Compensation report - 2015
Since the 2012 changes to workers compensation, injured workers have been doing it tough.
There has been a 24 per cent reduction in active compensation claims, with 5,000 injured workers cut off from weekly income entitlements and 20,000 long-term injured losing coverage for medical treatment.
On Friday 6 March, 2015, Unions NSW launched the latest research by Macquarie University which had been independently conducted since the changes came into play in June 2012.
The main changes introduced by the Liberal Government in June 2012 included:
- Removal of workers compensation coverage for trips to and from work;
- Stopping weekly payments for most injured workers after 2 ½ years or earlier;
- Capping medical payments for injured workers; and
- Removing the ability for workers to get legal assistance in relation to decisions to remove them from the scheme.
Since the cuts, the scheme has returned to surplus so quickly that employers have been given a 17% average reduction in their premiums, but there has been no return to fairness for injured workers.
The Macquarie University report found that amendments introduced two years later – in June last year - did not go far enough, only restoring some benefits to a very small group of injured workers. Less than two per cent of injured workers in the scheme are assessed as having more than 30 per cent whole person impairment - the Government’s definition of serious injury.
The report also highlights an alarming decline in enforcement action from 2006/7 to 2013/14 - with the number of infringement notices dropping from 726 to 69, and the number of successful safety prosecutions dropping from 300 to 41.