The reforms are an unnecessary attack on workers’ rights and have been enacted in a poorly considered and rushed fashion without consultation.
These reforms are bad for injured workers and bad for their families.
In terms of weekly payments of compensation for injured workers with an existing claim, these claims can now be reviewed in a manner where an injured worker can have their benefits discontinued without the opportunity for review or appeal.
Under the changes, an injured worker who previously was entitled to medical expenses paid for life may now have this support removed.
The new legislation will have a huge negative impact on people living in regional NSW.
With the ability removed to assess claims based on regional considerations, someone injured in Bourke will be assessed on the same basis as someone injured in Sydney, resulting in massive social and economic upheaval and true hardship.
These changes will lead to reduced work and jobs within the legal profession and support services, the medical profession and allied health professionals, the insurance industry and government.
Support for this reform demonstrates a lack of understanding of how workers’ compensation works, the social utility it represents and its economic importance to the state.
In addition, amendments to the Act moved by the Christian Democrats may result in injured workers having to bear their own costs even if their claim is successful.
This may remove the incentive for insurance companies to support legitimate claims.
The Law Society’s position is that this legislation should be abolished and we should go back to the drawing board to develop a fair system, based on consultation, that achieves the aims that the government said it wanted to achieve.
The Law Society is requesting an urgent meeting with the Premier to discuss our opposition to the reforms.