Compo changes loom

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Employees of industries across the state are bracing for changes to the Workers Compensation Scheme after the Premier, Barry O’Farrell, indicated that compensation costs were unsustainable.

A parliamentary inquiry established to find ways to reduce the cost of the Scheme will report its findings on June 13, but locals like Lorraine Fordham are concerned vital provisions in the current work cover arrangements will be removed.

Ms Fordham was driving her usual route between home and work at the University of Western Sydney’s Kingswood campus when she was hit by a 4WD in October 2010.

“I was at a roundabout when a 4WD hit me, spun my car out of control and head first into a tree,” she said.

“I had a fractured sternum and my car was written off. I was taken to hospital and forced to take 10 weeks off work to recover.”

Ms Fordham, who had been recently widowed, said she was fortunate that the NSW Workers Compensation Scheme covered journey accidents.

“I had all these additional medication costs and costs because of the accident that the compensation reimbursed – if I had not been supported financially I don’t know how I would have coped,” she said.

But according to Unions NSW, the State Government could axe provisions such as cover for journey accidents and lump sum payments for injured workers with less than 10 per cent whole body impairment.

The government is also considering introducing a cap on the length of entitlements to two and a half years unless the injured worker is unable to work less than 15 hours a week and a nine-year cap on entitlements for everyone except those who are totally incapacitated.
Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Lennon, has called on the State Government to rule out the cuts.

“These cuts will do nothing to reduce the number of injuries at work and provide no incentives for employers to keep on injured workers,” Mr Lennon said.

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