60,000 injured workers in NSW will have their medical benefits snatched from them at midnight, a decision Unions NSW has described as cruel and heartless.

“While the rest of us are enjoying Christmas and the holiday season, people who are already suffering from serious injuries sustained at work are staring down the barrel of financial devastation,” Unions NSW Deputy Assistant Secretary Emma Maiden said.

“When someone gets badly injured at work – through no fault of their own – someone has to pay the bills. The O’Farrell Government has decided it is the workers themselves, and for many that means living in poverty.

The party which has been let off the hook are the insurers. There has been a disgraceful transference of wealth from injured workers to big insurance companies.”

Unions NSW also slammed the O’Farrell Government for cruelly and quietly opening up a small window of opportunity just before Christmas – only to slam it again today.

Just ten days ago the NSW Government quietly passed a regulation allowing workers to continue claiming benefits if they got approval from their insurers. Yet the announcement was only made in the Government Gazette on December 20, 2013 and the window of opportunity closes today (December 31, 2013), leaving injured workers back out in the cold.

Ms Maiden said thousands of injured workers who needed surgical procedures earlier this year would have been told they could not get them because the window was closing on December 31, 2013. They would not have been told the government was planning to open up a window which would allow them to continue claiming medical benefits.

“Finance Minister Andrew Constance needs to explain why he issued a lifeline to injured workers without telling anyone he was doing it. He also needs to explain why he is snatching that lifeline away today,” she said.

“What the O’Farrell Government has done here is to trick and deceive injured workers out of getting the surgical procedures they need.

“Thousands of workers could have undergone the procedures they needed this year if they had known that the government was opening up a window of opportunity. Yet because when the window opened on December 20 and was not announced publicly, thousands who deserve to keep their benefits will miss out when the window closes today.

“Workers across the State will now be realising that they could have received the life-changing operations they sought, if only the government had not been so tricky and deceptive.”

Add your comment