Feb 03

Bukkulla farmer injured in electrocution accident


A 64-year-old man has been seriously injured after suffering an electric shock while working on his tractor between Ashford and Inverell.

Source: ABC News – Bukkulla farmer injured in electrocution accident

The accident occurred on a property at Bukkulla shortly before lunch on Thursday.

The region’s rescue helicopter airlifted the man to Tamworth Base Hospital with head and chest injuries.

Spokesman Barry Walton says it appears the man was cleaning a wheel rim with a drill and wire brush when the electrocution happened.

“Around 11:30am the region’s rescue helicopter was despatched with paramedics, along with an ambulance from Ashford, to a property on the outskirts of Ashford where a male in his 60s suffered an electric shock,” he said.

“Reports indicate he was working on the front wheel of the tractor and he was flung against the major tyre of the tractor.”

Paramedics from Ashford also attended the scene and stabilised the patient before the rescue helicopter arrived.

Read Here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-30/bukkulla-farmer-injured-in-electrocution-accident/5229052

Feb 01

Ray Hadley settles with man he allegedly bullied


Top rating radio host Ray Hadley has settled for an undisclosed sum to resolve allegations he bullied and harassed a junior colleague at his radio station 2GB.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald – Ray Hadley settles with man he allegedly bullied

“I can confirm that the matter is settled to my client’s satisfaction,” said John Laxon, lawyer for Richard Palmer, the website manager who was allegedly bullied by Hadley.

The case came to public attention last February when Fairfax Media revealed Mr Palmer had secretly recorded a tirade from Hadley. The host had summoned Mr Palmer into his office to complain about a tardily uploaded podcast, but proceeded, it is understood, to threaten Mr Palmer.

Unbeknownst to Hadley, Mr Palmer recorded the abuse on his iPhone and played it to management to evidence the threats.

Fairfax Media has not heard the recording and Mr Palmer refuses to comment, but the managing director of the Macquarie Radio Network, Rob Loewenthal, is understood to have been shocked when he heard it.

Mr Loewenthal suspended his star presenter but was overruled after an intervention from higher up Macquarie Radio’s management chain.

Hadley has since denied asking the network’s boss John Singleton to intervene on his behalf.

After Mr Palmer took legal action against Hadley, the radio host had to endure a certain amount of embarrassment with several airings in the NSW District Court of emails and sections of the secretly recorded abuse.

One email revealed Macquarie Radio Network executive chairman Russell Tate referring to Hadley as a “psychotic bully”.

At another point in the proceedings, the court heard that Hadley told Mr Palmer at the start of the tirade: “I’ll tell you f—ing what, and this is not leaving this office, if you repeat it, I’ll f—ing deny it”.

In addition to facing allegations of bullying Mr Palmer and “deliberately inflicting psychological harm”, Hadley also faced the curious-sounding charge of “false imprisonment”.

This allegation related to the involvement of Hadley’s assistant Rob “The Duck” Smith, who is understood to have blocked the door to the radio host’s office while Hadley verbally abused Mr Palmer.

Colleagues of “The Duck” told Fairfax Media at the time that they understood why Mr Palmer might have felt intimidated by his presence in the room while Hadley yelled at him.

“He’s f—ing massive. He’s a giant,” a colleague said. “He’d be 150 [kilos] plus”.

Fairfax Media has contacted Hadley for comment.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/ray-hadley-settles-with-man-he-allegedly-bullied-20140131-31rdg.html#ixzz2s1to6ON1

Jan 31

Cashed-up private medical insurers in rude good health


The head of the agency charged with advising the government on private health insurance premium rises says the industry is in “pretty good nick,” despite the Abbott government recently signing off on the largest premium rise in almost a decade.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald – Cashedup private medical insurers in rude good health

Shaun Gath, the chief executive of the Private Health Insurance Administration Council, was speaking at an event in Canberra on Thursday to mark the 30th anniversary of Medicare.

In December, Health Minister Peter Dutton approved an average premium increase of 6.2 per cent, the biggest increase since 2005. The increases, which take effect from April, will add about $150 a year to the cost of a basic family policy, while a single person will pay about $100 a year more.

The latest data from the council shows the industry collectively made an after-tax profit of more than $1 billion in the 12 months to September 2013.

Revenues were up 6.5 per cent for the year, to $18.9 billion, but the total benefits paid by insurers increased by 9 per cent compared to the previous 12 months, to $16 billion.

The net margin of the industry dropped from 5 per cent to 4 per cent.

Mr Gath defended the premium increases, saying they ensured the insurers were able to stay in business and pay claims, and fostered competition.

He said consumers should shop around for better value policies, producing figures showing the cost of a top-level policy differed by as much as $200 a month between some funds.

“Do you think most Australians would be interested in saving $1800 or more every year on a product they are likely to hold for the rest of their lives?” he said.

“Contrary to some misinformed commentary, there is a vibrant market for (private health insurance) products,” he said. “I invite all consumers to go out and find it.”

Jan 29

NSW public servants face fresh assault on wages


Salaries are under further threat from the O’Farrell government, which is determined to claw back money from public servants under its controversial wages cap.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald – NSW public servants face fresh assault on wages

The government said it would ”stick to its guns” in trying to overturn a decision by the NSW industrial umpire to protect superannuation entitlements from the government’s controversial 2.5 per cent cap on salary increases.

Late last year, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission ordered the government to deliver the full 2.5 per cent increase it promised 300,000 public sector workers in February 2012, not including superannuation entitlements.

The government failed in its attempt last year to redefine the salary cap to include increases in superannuation. It will try to introduce a similar regulation this year.

The NSW opposition said it would try to block the latest attempt, after it disallowed the regulation in August.

Its spokesman for industrial relations, Adam Searle, said the government had backed down on its original promise to guarantee superannuation entitlements when it introduced its controversial 2.5 per cent cap on salary increases.

“This is a broken promise and a naked cash grab from Barry O’Farrell at the expense of nurses, teachers, firefighters and other public sector workers,” Mr Searle said. “Barry O’Farrell is forcing over 300,000 workers in NSW to pay for their own superannuation increases.

“No other employer would be allowed to get away with this.”

Mr Searle said it ”beggars belief” the government was ignoring the will of the Parliament by trying to reintroduce legislation that was rejected last year.

“Having spent much of last year trying to renege on the wage deal it did with public sector workers, and spending a small fortune on extensive legal proceedings which it has lost, this government is once again abusing its power by regulating its way to victory,” he said.

Mr Searle said the government had already delivered public servants a real wages cut – given inflation levels at 2.7 per cent.

Treasurer and Minister for Industrial Relations Mike Baird said the government had clarified the regulation informing its wages policy to remove any ambiguity about the IRC’s scope in taking into account superannuation increases, as legislated by the Commonwealth.

He said up to 8000 public sector jobs would be lost if the superannuation increases are not absorbed in the government’s wages policy.

”Public sector wages make up almost half the state budget, so it is important we deliver wage increases that are both fair and affordable,” Mr Baird said.

”It has been the position of both major parties, historically, that superannuation increases should be absorbed into wages growth.

”Any other position is unaffordable, and would come at the cost of thousands of public sector positions. We are sticking to our guns on this, because it is both the principled and the responsible thing to do.”

Jan 28

WorkCover overhaul to target rorters and give workers the right to sue bosses


Injured workers will again be able to sue their employers for negligence, while those falsely claiming benefits will be targetted, under a long-awaited plan to overhaul South Australia’s WorkCover scheme.

Source: ABC News – WorkCover overhaul to target system rorters

The State Government has announced reforms it says will save businesses $180 million a year, including a legal distinction between ‘seriously injured’ and ‘less-seriously injured’ workers.

Those falling into the latter category will be removed from the scheme after two years, while compensation payments will increase for the more badly injured.

Attorney-General John Rau says a $1.4 billion unfunded liability would drop to about $100 million.

Mr Rau says the scheme is currently more like a pension with too many workers benefitting for too long, and has encouraged some “to entrench their illness behaviour.”

“People are rewarded by being sick, not being rewarded by getting better,” he said.

“For those people who are not the profoundly disabled people … at the end of a maximum of two year period, income maintenance ends.

“I’m not suggesting that all of the people who have been on WorkCover for more than two years have been rorting the system.

“The system makes people sick.”

The changes, which will have to go before Parliament after the election, would give injured workers expanded legal rights and allow them to sue.

“If an employer is negligent and as a result of that negligence there employee is injured, that employee would have a right to seek damages for that injury,” Mr Rau said.

The move follows several failed efforts to fix the troubled scheme and the Government says, if re-elected, it will consult on the details as it drafts the legislation.

Opposition welcomes changes, but says they are 12 years late

Lawyer Steven Dolphin says the reforms aim to balance the interests of workers and employers.

“Certainly in my experience there have been many injured workers who have sustained their injuries through negligence at work,” he said.

“As the Act currently stands, they are not able to recoup compensation for that negligence. Reintroducing the right to sue for negligence is to be welcomed.”

But Mr Dolphin says he wants to see more detail of the scheme before fully committing to support it.

“I understand there will be a seriously injury definition … the question then will be what is the relevant threshold?”

The State Opposition has previously announced its own WorkCover review.

Opposition frontbencher Iain Evans welcomed the reforms but said the Government should already have introduced them.

“After 12 years of mismanagement, they now say they can save $180 million of premiums for business, $180 million a year,” he said.

“Over a 12-year period, this scheme has slugged the South Australian business community $2.2 billion that it didn’t need to.

“Why weren’t these reforms brought in in one of the five, six or seven attempts they had previously to fix what is the worst workers compensation scheme in Australia?”

The scheme covers about 430,000 employees in 50,000 businesses.

Read Here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-24/government-reveals-workcover-cuts/5217812

Jan 27

Ambos left without key drugs


Paramedic interns in rural NSW say they are being forced to respond to emergencies alone and without access to potentially life-saving medicine because they have not been trained how to use it.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald – Ambos left without key drugs

”It puts you in an awful position,” said one recent graduate, who waited 14 months before being trained in the use of drugs. ”It forces you to try and manage till you get to hospital, but you might be 70, 80 or 100 [kilometres] away.”

Fairfax recently identified two stations in regional NSW staffed exclusively by interns, who have completed a year’s training but require up to two more before becoming qualified paramedics.

But Fairfax has learnt of four other stations in southern NSW where on one night this month just one intern was on duty. Usually two paramedics are required per ambulance, so one can treat a patient while the other drives.


Drugs that interns say should be made available to them earlier in their training include:

Adrenaline, for severe allergic reactions and drug overdoses;

Fentanyl, a pain killer; and

Benzylpenicillin, a meningococcal treatment.

Ambulance policy is to offer rural interns voluntary training in the drugs and recognises them as “integral” for interns working in “isolation”. But six paramedics have contacted Fairfax to say their managers discouraged the training, or disputed its usefulness.

Ambulance NSW said of the 80 interns sent to rural areas over the past two years, only about 30 have been trained in administering the drugs. An Ambulance spokeswoman said a “majority” of interns who applied for training received it.

The head of education for Ambulance NSW, Alan Morrison, said there were no obstacles to applying for training and said it should not be mandatory.

Mr Morrison said that people with anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions) carried their own epi-pens, reducing the need for interns to carry their own adrenaline.

But opposition health spokesman Dr Andrew McDonald said: “People often do not know they have [anaphylaxis] until they are stung by a bee. Adrenaline is the definitive treatment. This could, quite simply, mean life or death.”

Without access to fentanyl or morphine, the strongest analgesic available to interns is methoxyflurane. One intern said this was insufficient, citing the case of a man seriously injured in a farm accident.

”You just look them in the eye and say ‘that’s all I can do for now’,” the intern said. “I am often left solo and have to wait approximately 30-60 minutes for back-up paramedics to arrive.”

A 2008 study undertaken by the NSW Ambulance service found that methoxyflurane was ”significantly inferior” to fentanyl ”at all pain severities”.

Wayne Flint, the head of the Emergency Medical Service Protection Association, which represents paramedics, said he would not usually support giving interns access to such drugs before they were qualified.

”But they have been placed in a situation where they need it; where the patients need it,” he said.

Mr Flint said he also knew of paramedics who had been prevented from doing the training by station managers.

Health Minister Jillian Skinner said Ambulance funding had increased more than 5 per cent.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/ambos-left-without-key-drugs-20140126-31gyx.html#ixzz2rYGAAf4Y

Jan 25

Employment Peaks State Case for Welfare Review

Pro Bono logo-01

Employment service peak bodies have called on the Federal Government to help more people into work rather than tighten eligibility or reduce welfare payments.

Source: Pro-Bono Australia – Employment Peaks State Case for Welfare Review

The news comes as Federal Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews announced that the Government would be reviewing Australia’s social welfare system.

Jobs Australia and Disability Employment Australia said the drivers behind the growth in welfare were largely demographic, with an ageing population the greatest single factor.

The peak bodies said that while the raw number of people on the Disability Support Pension had generally been trending upwards over the last decade, as a percentage of the working-age population it has remained relatively steady.

“We need to take a different perspective to initiate real change. Tinkering with payment rates and eligibility just makes people’s lives harder, it doesn’t help them find and keep employment,” Lynette May, CEO of Disability Employment Australia, said.

“This has been proven time and time again over the last decade.”

The peak bodies support simplifying welfare payments with the long-term goal of moving to a single working-age payment, with supplements for additional costs where relevant, but they said that doing so would mean significantly increasing the Newstart Allowance – at substantial cost to government – or reducing support for people with a disability.

“It’s already incredibly difficult for people with a disability to get the support they need,” CEO of Jobs Australia, David Thompson, said.

“We’re talking about people who need more support, not less.”

The peak bodies have called for a focus on how to help more people into work, through initiatives including removal of disincentives to work from the DSP and helping employers understand the business case for fostering diversity in their workforce.

Performance data for Australia’s employment services system showed that specialist programs that invest more in ongoing support for employers were delivering good outcomes, but performance would be improved with less red-tape.

“There is much more to be done if we want to be serious about having more people with disability contributing to society through inclusive workforces,” May said.

– See more at: http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2014/01/employment-peaks-state-case-welfare-review#sthash.dVr79AUu.dpuf

Jan 23

IWSN Meeting, Friday 07th February 2014, Hosted by Bathurst Community Club, All Welcome


Meeting Notice

Injured Workers Support Group

“Working together to rebuild lives’”

Date: Friday the 7th of February

Time: 11am till 1pm

Venue: Bathurst Community Club

Corner of William St and Durham St

All welcome injured workers, family, support persons and members of the community that have an interest in joining this group to achieve equality for injured workers and their families.

Any inquires contact

Pete Tully


Central West Co-ordinator

Injured Workers Support Group

Jan 23

Reminder, IWSN Meeting, Friday 24th January 2014, Hosted by Newcastle City Library, All Welcome


Injured Workers Support Network

Assisting and supporting Workers who have sustained

Work related injuries, illness and disabilities.

“Our mission is to assist and support workers and their families who have sustained work related injuries, illness and disabilities to rebuild their lives.”

Meeting Notice

Date: Friday 24th January 2014

Time: Between 11 am and 1pm

Venue: Newcastle City Library; Cultural Centre, 1st Floor Theatrette,

Laman Street Newcastle NSW, 2300


  • Recap of NSW Workers Compensation reforms post 1st January 2014
  • Discuss formalised structure of IWSN meetings
  • Discuss activities and strategic planning for 2014
  • General business

Important: Please RSVP by 23rd January 2014 on  (02) 9749 7566  or by email: adam.grumley@injuredworkerssupport.org.au

Jan 22

Reminder, IWSN Meeting Thursday, 23rd January 2014, Hosted by Unions NSW in Parramatta, All Welcome

Injured Workers Support Network

Assisting and supporting Workers who have sustained

Work related injuries, illness and disabilities.

“Our mission is to assist and support workers and their families who have sustained work related injuries, illness and disabilities to rebuild their lives.”

Meeting Notice

Date: Thursday 23rd January 2014

Time: Between 11 am and 1pm

Venue: UNIONS NSW, Level 2/20 Wentworth Street, Parramatta


  • Recap of NSW Workers Compensation reforms post 1st January 2014
  • Discuss formalised structure of IWSN meetings
  • Discuss activities and strategic planning for 2014
  • General business

Important: Please RSVP by 22nd January 2014 on  (02) 9749 7566  or by email: adam.grumley@injuredworkerssupport.org.au

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