A sad day for 3.5 million NSW workers
The O'Farrell Government's unprecedented legislation to slash medical benefits and entitlements for injured workers and their families passed the NSW State Parliament at 2:45am this morning.
"This is a sad day for more than 3.5 million workers across NSW," said Opposition Leader John Robertson.
"Police, fire-fighters and paramedics were granted a last minute exemption from the bill last night with support from NSW Labor – but the passing of the bill means the vast majority of workers will be worse off under Barry O'Farrell.
"If these laws aren't good enough for police, fire-fighters and paramedics - then they aren't good enough for the other 99 per cent of workers in this State.
"These laws could hurt you next week, next month or ten years from now, if you are unfortunate enough to be injured at work.
"From the 16 year old who works at McDonalds behind the deep fryer, to our nurses working in the emergency ward, construction workers building our state and teachers in the classroom.
"Under the O'Farrell Government's changes, you will no longer be looked after if you are injured on the way to or from work.
"From the day you are injured, your salary will be cut, with a further reduction after 13 weeks of the injury taking place.
"Workers, who do the right thing and return to work, will lose their medical benefits after 12 months – even if they require ongoing treatment or their injury comes back.
"The Premier will completely cut off benefits to large numbers of injured workers after five years, even if the injury is permanent and you cannot return to work.
"Workplace accidents are random, they can happen to anyone and they can have a devastating impact on workers and their families already struggling to pay the bills.
"These changes are real, they are drastic and they will hurt ordinary working people and their families across this State."
Shadow Minister for Finance Michael Daley said the changes are also retrospective, which means many workers already receiving workers' compensation benefits will have their payments slashed.
"Barry O'Farrell's retrospective laws will leave injured workers, currently living week to week on medical benefits and entitlements, on the scrap heap - unable to support themselves or pay the mortgage," said Mr Daley.
"This legislation has been rammed through the Parliament by the Premier – with no regard for the impact it will have on real people out in the community.
"The people of NSW didn't vote for Barry O'Farrell so that he would rip away protections for workers injured on the job."
Tags: Barry O'Farrell, Industrial relations, workers, workers compensation