New WorkCover restrictions ‘troubling’

The sustainability of Victoria’s WorkCover scheme is critical but new restrictions on worker eligibility announced today are concerning, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“We understand that the scheme must be sustainable but we are troubled by the newly-announced restrictions on eligibility to receive compensation and the criteria applied to determine ongoing access to weekly payments,” said Lachlan Fitch, Victoria State President, Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“The detail of the new eligibility test for workers with psychological injuries needs to be seen before we can fully understand its impact.

“We also need to see the detail of the new test for weekly payments after 130 weeks. We don’t yet know how that will work, but we do know there will be fewer workers eligible for payments after 130 weeks.”

The Australian Lawyers Alliance says that the guides used to assess impairment are a blunt instrument.

“The guides do not consider a worker’s transferable skills, such as whether they have problems with literacy, or if they live in a remote area with fewer job opportunities,” said Lachlan. “ALA members work every day with people who have been injured at work and we know it is very difficult for some workers to find alternative employment after being injured.

“Injury prevention is key. The Government has previously made commitments about how it will address mental health issues emerging in workplaces, and we hope that this work is productive.

“We also need to see more effort made to help injured workers get back to work. We look forward to hearing how Return to Work Victoria will assist injured workers get back to their full lives as soon as possible.

“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.

“We welcome the announced premium increase as these premiums have not been increased for ten years. This will help to ensure that the scheme is properly funded.”

Source Mirage News

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