Taxpayers are picking up the bill for the cost of injured
workers as they go to Medicare and Centrelink rather than seek
The NSW government has boasted of a 15 per cent reduction in
workers' compensation claims by small businesses and a 17.5 per
cent reduction in insurance premiums since major changes were
brought in to the workers' compensation scheme in 2012.
In 2011 the NSW government said the WorkCover scheme was facing
a $4.1 billion deficit, but after cutting access to compensation
within two years the scheme soared to a surplus of
But Ros Everett said as she retired as Law Society President
that the costs associated with injured workers has simply been
moved from the NSW government to taxpayers who pay for health and
social security services.
She said it was far tougher for injured workers to receive
compensation under the new system. It requires the most experienced
lawyers specialising in compensation law to negotiate the barriers
erected in the system for their clients to receive adequate
compensation for injuries received at work.
A 2015 study by Macquarie University found more than 5,000
workers have lost their workers' compensation benefits since
the 2012 reforms. At least 260 of the workers were not employed
when their benefits were cut. Up to 20,000 workers with long-term
injuries also lost their entitlements to medical benefits as a
result of the 2012 cuts. There has also been a 24 per cent
reduction in compensation claims.
"A thorough rethinking of government policy in this area is
required in order to achieve the fundamental objectives of
guaranteeing support for injured workers and promoting their
recovery and continued return to work," the university
researchers from the Centre for Workforce Futures said in their
The researchers say the removal of claims for journeys to and
from work has shifted costs from the workers' compensation
scheme to Medicare, Centrelink and compulsory third party motor
Critics say WorkCover's current strong financial position
has come at the cost of injured workers' health and wellbeing.
Many injured workers have had to go without medical treatment for
their injuries after they were rejected by insurers. The insurers
are in a strong position under the new scheme, but there is help
Stacks Law Firm has a team of specialists in compensation law
appointed as Approved Legal Service Providers in WorkCover's
Independent Legal Assistance and Review Service that was set up to
help people with claims. The providers give free legal advice to
injured workerswho have had their claims rejected or challenged by
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
An employee that refused a reasonable offer of settlement was ordered by the FWC to pay his ex-employer's legal costs.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).