Hon Barry O’Farrell
Photo: Premier of NSW
The Workers Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2012 had spared employers from a 28 percent increase to their insurance premiums, says Premier Barry O’Farrell.
“With premiums in NSW already between 20 and 60 percent higher than in Victoria and Queensland, any increase would only have driven more businesses and more jobs interstate,” said Mr O’Farrell.
“WorkCover is more than $4 billion in debt and without the reforms passed by Parliament today it would become financial unviable.”
AAP reported today that the controversial legislation formally passed parliament just before 3am (AEST) Friday, with amendments allowing the exemption of firefighters and other emergency services workers, just after a day of protests.
SafetyCulture reported on Thursday that firefighters in Sydney, the Illawara and the Hunter staged protests over the government’s overhaul of WorkCover.
While the changes was good news for firefighters and other emergency services workers, Greens MP David Shoebridge said it “didn’t do” much for the rest of the state’s workers. Unions also said that they will intensify their campaign against the reforms.
“The O’Farrell government is plunging the state into industrial chaos,” said Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon in a statement on Friday.
“Our campaign now intensifies – politically and industrially.”
John Robertson of the Opposition believes that the reforms would affect workers who would lose their medical benefits after one year if they return to work.
“The premier will completely cut off benefits to large numbers of injured workers after five years, even if the injury is permanent and you cannot return to work,” said Mr Robertson.