Injured workers must be a priority for Qld election
16th Jan 2015
The forthcoming Queensland State election presents a real opportunity for all sides of politics to restore rights for Queenslanders injured in unsafe workplaces, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.
ALA Queensland President Michelle James said the ALA had written to both the Liberal National Party (LNP) and the Queensland Labor Party (ALP) seeking a commitment to restore rights for Queenslanders injured at work, after changes were made to the State’s workers’ compensation scheme in 2013.
“Disappointingly, the LNP have again confirmed that should they be elected to Government on January 31, they will not be undoing changes made by the Newman Government to the State’s workers’ compensation scheme,” Ms James said.
“This is not good enough – Queensland had the best workers’ compensation scheme in the country, but with the changes to the scheme forced through by the Newman Government in 2013 at least 60 per cent of workers in Queensland now have no legal rights to seek damages compensation if they’re injured in unsafe workplaces.”
“That leaves many Queenslanders who are injured at work in a very difficult position - many of these people are no longer able to return to any form of employment, and without the right to seek compensation they are left with limited options to assist with providing for their families or to pay for ongoing costs,” Ms James said.
“These changes to our workers’ compensation scheme are unfair, and sadly it is injured workers and their families who are continuing to miss out.”
Ms James said the ALP had again confirmed that the party would repeal the changes made to the scheme, including the introduction of impairment thresholds, if elected to Government.
“So today we are again calling on the LNP, as well as the minor parties and independents, to match this commitment and agree to the restoration of legal rights for Queenslanders injured at work,” Ms James said.
“Ensuring we have a fair workers’ compensation scheme in place for all Queenslanders is essential, and the scheme we have currently is not giving injured workers a fair go.”
“This State election is a valuable opportunity for all parties to ensure we get the balance right again on workers’ compensation for Queenslanders,” Ms James said.