The NSW parliamentary inquiry into WorkCover has rejected the application of Greens NSW Industrial Relations spokesperson David Shoebridge to appear before it, highlighting the flawed nature of the inquiry and the government's real agenda of slashing benefits for injured workers with no justification.
"This is a committee formed by the government with an eye more to slashing benefits than a balanced inquiry into the operation of the scheme and options for reform," Mr Shoebridge said.
"The composition of the committee, its terms of reference, the short time-frame and now the refusal to even hear from The Greens is a clear sign this is a sham inquiry from a government that is hell-bent on cutting benefits for injured workers.
"The idea that the Workers Compensation scheme can be considered, discussed and reformed within slightly over one month is absurd, undermining the integrity of any conclusions this committee draws about the scheme.
"The present terms of reference have no regard to whether or not the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme provides just compensation for injured workers, which will of necessity produce an incomplete and unbalanced review of the scheme.
"The government's claim in its issues paper that there are "perverse financial incentives for workers to remain off work" is a bare assertion, unfounded in any empirical studies.
"Most injured workers want nothing more than to recover from their injury or illness as quickly as possible and return to their workplace.
"The financial difficulties of the scheme in NSW are not because workers are receiving excessive benefits; it is in fact rampant increases in payments to insurance companies which have overwhelmingly been responsible for the increasing cost of the scheme.
"The right to go to work and to be protected if you are injured in the service of another is essential if work is to be dignified and employees to be secure when working for the benefit of employers," Mr Shoebridge said.
The Greens NSW submission to the inquiry can be viewed online here: http://djdh9atks0nwf.
Media inquiries: Mark Riboldi 9230 3030 | 0433 753 376