Greens industrial relations spokesperson Tammy Franks MLC joined with unions and injured workers today to make a clear case for changes to the new workers compensation laws. The current Return to Work scheme took effect in July this year.
“The Greens warned that the new rules for the workers compensation definition of ‘seriously injured’ would be too harsh and the 30% whole person impairment (WPI) hurdle too high,” Ms Franks said.
“This week we saw the Upper House of the Parliament reject the new definition for police officers. There’s no denying that police are exposed to risky situations, but so too are other workers including ambulance officers, nurses and many, many other public sector workers.
“I’ve heard stories of ambulance officers who have been subjected to violence and suffered serious injuries, like severe spinal injuries, as a result of their work, and nurses who have been spat on, exposed to bodily fluids and sexually assaulted at work.
“Additionally, I have been informed of a number of correctional and secure care workers who face physical violence in the workplace. But all workers, no matter their profession, deserve a workplace that values their safety and supports them when they are injured.
“The Greens look forward to introducing amendments to the Return to Work Act when Parliament resumes early next year to ensure that all injured workers are treated fairly under the Act.
“I defy this Government to defend a regime where a worker can lose a limb and not be considered ‘seriously injured’. It won’t pass the political sniff test once the community begins to understand just how harsh these new rules are,” Ms Franks concluded.