NSW slashes workers compensations benefits

Thousands of NSW employees who currently rely on workers compensation to afford rising gas and electricity prices may soon find themselves out in the cold.

The legislative assembly voted 65 to 24 yesterday (June 19) in favour of the bill, which will see weekly benefits reduced after a period of 13 weeks.

Those payments will be capped significantly, with only seriously injured patients eligible to receive benefits for a period longer than five years.

Premier Barry O'Farrell believes that while they may be controversial, the changes are necessary in working towards the goal of reducing the $4 billion state deficit.

"This scheme was never about providing all injured workers with support for life ... this scheme was about trying to encourage workers who have been injured, who are capable of returning to work, to get back to work," said O'Farrell. 

The premier maintained that the reforms were the best move for the community, the economy and the workers themselves.

However Mark Lennon, secretary of Unions NSW, believes the changes are the "biggest attack on working people in 100 years" and that O'Farrell was rushing the legislation through parliament in order to combat a non-existent problem.

Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten was also amongst those who spoke out against the reforms.

"Is there no victim that the Liberals in this country will not hunt down and hurt?" stated Shorten.

Posted by Charlie Moore