Raising the BARR – Week ending 7 August 2020

Raising the Barr

Workers Compensation Scheme Is Being Rorted by the Rulers

Having a workers compensation scheme is absolutely essential to our society. For a person that goes to work, and gets injured, there must be a framework that allows them to have their injuries and income looked after. Our society relies on having systems in place to make workplaces safe so that our people can be healthy, active contributors to our nation.

In really simple terms, our businesses, our employers, pay a fee (premium) into the worker’s compensation system. It is generally around $1.20 for every $100 that they pay out in wages. This money is pooled together into the one bucket and insurance is taken out to cover the workforce.

When a person gets injured at work, they make a claim against this insurance. In NSW there are about 70,000 claims made each year. That’s 70,000 people that get injured at work. The great majority of these injuries, 90%, are minor and these people are back at work within days, or perhaps a week or two. The other 10% is a bit more complicated but even so, almost all of this 10% are back at work within 6 months. And then there is a very small number of serious and complicated injuries that take longer.

Over the past 2 weeks, we have been made aware that the NSW Treasurer, who is responsible for the worker’s compensation insurance scheme, has willingly and knowingly turned a blind eye to all types of rorts happening inside of the scheme.

Fundamentally, the NSW Treasurer has failed to manage the worker’s compensation scheme books. Remember, this is money that belongs to the businesses that pay into the scheme. Also, this is money that should go toward looking after injured workers, not treating them like disposable slaves to industry.

So, what is happening inside of the worker’s compensation scheme that is so bad? Well, to start with there are 40 executives on massive wages at an average of $660,000 p.a. In addition to this, these executives get secret bonuses. And then there are the many many warnings to the Treasurer that the funds of the scheme are in dire straits. In response to the struggling finances, the Treasurer didn’t try to reign in wild spending of the scheme, except to try to cut off injured workers from the scheme. And then there are the various dodgy deals done which includes multi-million dollar contracts going to family and friends and other companies that provide business class flights and 5-star accommodation, all which the Treasurer turned a blind eye to.

This is the same Treasurer that wants public servants to be sacked, right across the State, and for those that survive, he wants them to have their salaries cut.

Our worker’s compensation scheme is essential. But a good scheme would have injured workers properly taken care of and employers paying as little as possible into the scheme. A good scheme wouldn’t be splashing the funds around like a drunken sailor, nor should it be rorted to its financial death.