WorkCover cuts strip too many rights from injured workers
2nd Nov 2023
Proposed revisions to the workers’ compensation scheme in Victoria will strip too many rights from injured workers, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).
“Most injured workers get back to work, but for those who can’t, weekly payments have been an important safety net,” said Lachlan Fitch, Victoria State President, Australian Lawyers Alliance.
“Many workers will now no longer be eligible for weekly payments after 130 weeks.
“The decision to introduce an impairment test of more than 20 per cent will affect too many workers and their families.
“We represent injured workers every day, and it is very rare to see anyone with an impairment greater than 20 per cent.
“The safety net is no longer there for long term injured workers, and it is unclear where government is expecting them to go.
“These changes have retrospective effect because all workers who have not yet reached 130 weeks are affected by these changes.”
The Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Workcover Scheme Modernisation) Bill 2023 was introduced into Victorian Parliament on Tuesday.
“We understand the scheme must be sustainable, but these changes look set to impact too many injured workers,” said Mr Fitch.
The Bill also limits who can access support for psychological injuries.
“We have concerns about the new eligibility criteria for mental injuries and the new limitations on injury caused by stress and burnout. The Bill introduces novel terms about defining a mental injury which will create significant uncertainty for years to come,” said Mr Fitch.
“We need to remember that we are dealing with individuals who have been injured while working to support themselves and their families. Sometimes these injuries can have long term and serious consequences.
“Our priority must always be to ensure that anyone who is injured at work receives the support they need to look after themselves and their families.”