Media Release - 8 October 2012
The NSW Finance Minister today stated in budget estimates that the time limits now applying for workers to receive medical expenses and weekly benefits will not include periods where benefits were paid before the retrospective changes were made to the law in June of this year.
Greens MP and Industrial Relations spokesperson David Shoebridge said: "Answers from Minister Pearce in Budget Estimates today indicate that the Government has had a partial change of heart about how to apply these savage cuts.
"This minor back flip from the Government is a small reprieve for those workers affected who risked being cut off from medical care and support payments as soon as the Government chose to apply the relevant provisions.
"Thousands of injured workers have been facing the prospect of losing all their compensation benefits on 1 Jan 2013, when the government applies its workers compensation changes to every existing claim.
"This is the first time the government has confirmed the position for the many thousands of injured workers and their families who are currently in receipt of compensation benefits.
"The government has made it clear that they intend to apply the new time limits, of 12 months for most medical benefits and 2.5 years for most weekly payments, to all claims from 1 January 2013.
"If the time limits included periods where benefits were paid before 1 January 2013 then literally thousands of workers would lose all their entitlements from that day.
"This does not stop the laws applying retrospectively to injuries received before the changes were made in June of this year, but it does soften their application and gives thousands of injured workers a little more breathing room before their benefits are cut.
"While it does not change the fundamental unfairness in the new system, it is a commitment that the Greens will be holding the government to.
"The bulk of the government's brutal cuts will continue to apply retrospectively and those workers affected have very good reason to ask why they should not be exempted," Mr Shoebridge said.
Media contact: 9230 3030 | 0433 753 376
Read more about the changes to the workers' compensation scheme in NSW here: http://davidshoebridge.org.au/