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In 2013, the NSW Government made substantial changes to the state workers’ compensation scheme affecting over 38,500 injured workers in NSW.

Thousands of people who made workers’ compensation claims had their payments slashed and a new assessment system was introduced.

The main changes made by the Liberal Government at the time included:

  • Removed workers compensation coverage for trips to and from work
  • Reduced weekly payments to injured workers
  • Stopped weekly payments for most injured workers after 2 ½ years
  • Capped medical payments for injured workers
  • Heart attacks and strokes are no longer covered
  • Stopped partners of those killed at work from claiming for nervous shock
  • Stopped lump sum payments for pain and suffering

Though paramedics, police officers, coal miners, and fire-fighters continue to operate under the old laws, everyone else was shunted into the new system.

Under the scheme introduced by the State Liberal Government, workers’ compensation payments cease after two-and-a-half years, unless there is a total incapacity for work. Yet even for those with a total incapacity, payments will still end after five years, except in the most severe and rare of cases.

The capacity test is designed to make it as difficult as possible for people to continue receiving payments. Under the system, if you have been employed in one capacity, but you are assessed as capable of working in another capacity – even if there is no actual job being offered to you – your weekly payments will be terminated three months after the work capacity assessment. In other words, you can be given a ‘virtual’ job and taken off the workers’ compensation system.

You can see how insurers could easily take advantage of such a system. And the government has left the door open to further change by allowing several areas to change ‘by regulation’ – i.e. just announcing them on the government website.

If you are injured at work, the HSU can assist with ensuring you understand your rights and entitlements. We will refer you to Lawyers who specialise in Workers Compensation cases if your case reaches the stage where legal advice is appropriate.

Injured on the way to work?

To protect HSU members travelling to and from work, the HSU has taken out Journey Insurance to provide you with income support if you are off work after a journey injury. This policy will pay you 85% of your weekly wage (including penalties and overtime) for up to two years. Find out more call the HSU on 1300 478 679.