MANY Tamworth workers are at risk of massive job cuts and reduced compensation under the state government’s budget and sweeping WorkCover reforms, a visiting Opposition MP said this week.
Labor MLC and Shadow Minister for industrial relations Sophie Cotsis is on a regional tour to make local public and private sector workers aware of the changes taking effect.
She said the workers compensation reforms would affect all employees when injuries sustained while working incurred a raft of new regulations, including a loss of medical benefits after 12 months – even if they required ongoing treatment.
Ms Cotsis has circulated a petition calling on the government to scrap “appalling cuts” to workers compensation. In Tamworth she met with the Public Service Association north west regional organiserStephen Meares and NSW Nurses Association delegate, Roz Norman.
She said locals she had spoken to had expressed “absolute horror” over the changes. To add to the woes of the state’s workers, Ms Cotsis said the state budget indicated there would be up to 10,000 public-sector job cuts over four years on top of the 5000 announced in September.
But national media reports have revealed the redundancies could be much higher after referring to an internal email from a NSW Treasury official which revealed there was “no cap” on the redundancies and government departments should privatise more services.
While school teachers, nurses and police won’t be affected, the memo suggested other front-line workers – including national parks officers, firefighters, paramedics, teachers aides and TAFE teachers – would be.
Ms Cotsis said she was concerned with the revelation, particularly with the possibility of job cuts to Tamworth’s workers.
She said there were about 25 major government offices in Tamworth – from health and community services, to primary industries and the Roads and Maritime Service – and asked local member Kevin Anderson to guarantee none of those local jobs would be lost.