NSW flags WorkCover overhaul
The New South Wales Government has announced intentions to cut spending to WorkCover after a PriceWaterhouseCoopers audit report found the agency was over $4 billion in deficit. The audit found that the agency had recorded a $1.7 billion blowout in its debt in the past six months.
Although the Government is yet to commit to specific spending cuts, it has announced there is no plan to cut compensation payouts as part of any reform to spending and budget.
“We'll be looking at all things, including trying to reduce the rate of serious injury in NSW, through to the way the funds are managed through to medical costs and efficiencies at WorkCover itself,” NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell told reporters.
“There is no proposal to cut benefits, but we're going to have to look at everything because it is simply unsustainable that over the past six months the WorkCover deficit has been $9 million a day.”
UnionsNSW, however, remains unconvinced of the Government’s assurances that entitlements will remain unchanged.
"Sick and injured workers are in a vulnerable position through no fault of their own. They do not deserve to be abandoned by the State Government," Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Lennon said.
"The test of any society is how its looks after its most vulnerable. It looks like this State Government will fail that test."
"Making drastic changes to workers compensation without consulting unions, employers and other community groups is a recipe for disaster," Mr Lennon said.
"The Government needs to slow down, canvass all options and halt the attack on sick and injured workers."
The announcement comes after the State Government indicated it will establish a committee of employer, union and government representatives to examine the Workers Compensation system.