Aug 01

Work site scandal

310713_work-site

C/O: A Current Affair Work site scandal

In the last two years, 62 labourers and tradies have died at work. A Current Affair’s Ray Martin investigates the alarming number and asks what is being done to protect the lives and safety of our workers.

Read more: http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8698656

http://www.cfmeu.asn.au/news/in-the-press

 

 

Jul 31

Stressful double standards

Thousands of people who have suffered a psychological injury whether at work, as a result of a horrific car accident or following a criminal assault are increasingly cut out of state compensation schemes. But the rules seem different for the State’s Finance Minister when he needs time off for stress.
As posted in the Illawarra Mercury Here

Over the past three years the NSW Coalition Government has had compensation schemes across the State in its sights.

So far there have been drastic cuts to workers compensation, slashed payments to victims of crime and injured police and there is a fresh plan to cut benefits for people injured on the roads.

These cuts have had many common features. They have all been designed to save money and they have all achieved this through cutting benefits. In every case benefits for physical injuries have been stripped back.

However, the bigger cuts have been to payments for psychological injuries, in many cases these benefits have been removed entirely.

The number of people affected by the removal of payments for psychological injuries is potentially very large. For example approximately 80 per cent of police hurt on duty have suffered a psychological injury alone. Another 10 per cent of injured police suffered a combination of physical and psychological injury.

These high injury rates are understandable because policing is a high risk, high stress job. Yet to cut costs, the O’Farrell government changed the law in 2011 so that most police who suffer stress-induced injuries will no longer receive death and disability payments.

Earlier this year the NSW government changed the victims compensation scheme to remove any compensation for the psychological impact of a crime. Under this harsh new scheme it is irrelevant if a victim of crime is suffering from terrible ongoing psychological consequences. Victims are now given tiny lump sum payments based on the crime that was committed regardless of its impact.

Given the reason advanced for cutting victim’s rights was financial it was remarkable that Greg Pearce, the NSW Finance Minister, did not even speak during the debate. Even more confronting is the fact that he was drinking alcohol while the bill was being debated, became in his words “exhausted”, and was sent home with a pair to cover him.

Following the outcry about this behaviour and reports of rorting of travel expenses, the Premier Barry O’Farrell sent Minister Pearce on one month of paid stress leave. He made this decision having spoken with Minister Pearce’s GP and specialist who had recommended that he “would benefit from a period outside of the workplace to improve his health”.

When announcing this, the Premier said that stress-related illness should be considered seriously within workplaces and appropriate support provided. I absolutely agree. It’s just that all his actions in government suggest he doesn’t mean what he says.

It must be asked why a Minister suffering from the effects of stress is provided with paid leave and other resources, while other workers or victims of crime get no such support.

I don’t suggest that Minister Pearce should not get the support he needs to cope with highly stressful and difficult work.

However, we can all see the fundamental unfairness of Minister Pearce taking advantage of a benefit that he has ensured that others do not have. Double standards that benefit only politicians have an ugly history in NSW and most of us have well and truly had a gutful.

David Shoebridge is a NSW Greens MP.

 

– See more at: http://davidshoebridge.org.au/2013/07/31/stressful-double-standards-media/#sthash.DtG5FRpy.dpuf

Jul 31

Stress, social media fuelling workplace bullying

Social Media

RISING stress levels, competition in workplaces and inappropriate use of social media are fuelling bullying among South Australian workers.

News.com.au Stress, social media fuelling workplace bullying

Advocacy groups say employees are also reporting bullying of women returning from maternity leave, especially if they are requesting flexible working arrangements.

Experts say employers must invest in better training for managers to help them handle conflicts between employees and create a more supportive work environment.

The SA Working Women’s Centre says it is dealing with a growing number of bullying cases, many in organisations undergoing restructuring.

“At times of such major change when there is competition for less resources and positions it fosters an environment where people turn on each other,” director Sandra Dann said.

“When people feel stressed at work then bullying is more prevalent.”

TELL US: What are your experiences with workplace bullying?

Ms Dann said the incidence of social media bullying was also on the rise.

In one recent case dealt with by the centre, a nurse resigned after discovering colleagues were using Facebook to make jokes and racist comments about her behind her back.

Last week the nation’s peak union group called for practical jokes, crude or offensive messages over email, SMS or social media and initiation rites to be included in a government draft code of practice on bullying.

The ACTU says workplace bullying costs the national economy between $6 billion and $36bn a year.

Anne Purdy, from the SA Young Worker’s Legal Service, said bullying was still a “common” experience.

One young man who came to the service this year reported his boss had “yelled at him and told him he was useless”.

The IT worker was “told that he was pathetic and was dismissed without notice”, she said.

In another case an apprentice butcher was physically assaulted and subjected to derogatory taunts about his girlfriend and family.

Psychologist and bullying expert Dr Moira Jenkins said there was a higher risk of bullying in competitive work environments.

Other contributing factors included “high levels of stress, staff conflict, ambiguous job descriptions … people who are reporting to more than one manager (and) poor communication within a team”.

“Some of the stories that I hear from targets (of bullying show) there are still some pretty overt in-your-face behaviours,” she said.

Dr Jenkins said managers were often promoted for their technical skills but must also receive training in people management.

“Human relations skills are very different,” she said.

Jul 30

Greg Pearce had no official reason to spend two nights in the Hunter

Landlord

FINANCE Minister Greg Pearce charged taxpayers more than $500 to stay in the Hunter Valley with his wife to attend an Australian Hotels Association function last October.

News.com.au Drinks on the taxpayer dime

The minister’s office was forced to admit last night that a two-night stay at the Mercure Hunter Valley, which cost $587.10, was for a drinks function organised by an association with no relation to his portfolio – except for a decision Mr Pearce made in allowing them to extend their Workcover scheme to clubs.

That decision, as The Daily Telegraph revealed on Saturday, saved pubs and clubs millions and came after lobbying from Liberal powerbroker Michael Photios’s firm PremierState.

The minister’s office said Mr Pearce also used the trip to lunch with the chairman of Hunter Water, but admitted that was in Newcastle.

Premier Barry O’Farrell last month admonished Mr Pearce after he charged the taxpayer for a trip to a drinks function he later had to admit was “private” – this time in Canberra. Mr Pearce had to pay back close to $1000 as a result.

Mr O’Farrell yesterday stood by Mr Pearce, despite revelations he had spent $22,000 on domestic travel which added up to two months’ away on taxpayers in two years.

Of those trips, 18 were weekends away; 13 overnight stays were made at Wollongong – just 90 minutes from Sydney – and five were made to Melbourne for events such as the Australian Open, Melbourne Cup and AFL grand final.

The trip to the Hunter was made from October 5 to 7 last year.

Mr Pearce’s spokeswoman said: “The minister met with Tourism Accommodation Australia (NSW Board) and general managers of accommodation hotels in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley at a tourism event at The Mercure Hotel to discuss a range of business-related issues.

“He also met in Maitland with Hunter region members of the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) to discuss a range of issues.

“The meeting (luncheon) with the Hunter Water board chairman took place in Newcastle.”

Mr O’Farrell said if anyone had evidence Mr Pearce had breached government travel guidelines they should take it to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

Travel guidelines set an upper limit of $428 for a stay in a Melbourne Hotel for ministers but Mr Pearce has exceeded that four times, including spending $675 at the Langham Hotel.

Jul 29

NSW Finance Minister Greg Pearce spent $22,000 on taxpayer-funded trips

 

Barry O’Farrell gave a  pre-election promise that he would resign if he failed to deliver on Government Accountability. Finance Minister Greg Pearce’s  post-election spend and tax payer funded lifestyle demands the Premier does not renege on this promise to the People of NSW.

NSW Finance Minister Greg Pearce spent $22000 on taxpayer-funded trips

FINANCE Minister Greg Pearce has spent two months of his two years in the job away from home on the taxpayer -including 18 weekends away, many of them with his wife.

The minister, who is on the government’s razor gang responsible for tough spending cuts, has spent more than $22,000 on 39 domestic away trips involving 56 nights’ accommodation, documents released under freedom of information laws to The Daily Telegraph reveal.

Mr Pearce, who is also the Minister for the Illawarra and in charge of Hunter Water, often makes announcements or schedules meetings on Friday or Saturday in Wollongong or other regional areas then stays the weekend, often with his wife. Wollongong is just 90 minutes from Sydney – close enough for many to commute – and Newcastle just two hours away.

The documents show Mr Pearce has stayed overnight 13 times in Wollongong (six weekend stays), five times in Melbourne (all weekends, except for the Melbourne Cup) and five times in Newcastle and the Hunter (two weekends).

The minister has charged up three visits to Canberra, weekends in Brisbane, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, two weekends in Orange and has stayed three times in the Blue Mountains and one time each in Kiama, Shoalhaven Heads, Griffith and Dubbo.

 

Greg Pearce

The revelations come after Mr Pearce was sent on a month’s stress leave in June after the director-general of the Department of Premier and Cabinet found he misused travel entitlements in travelling to Canberra to attend a drinks function organised by Liberal powerbroker Michael Photios’ firm PremierState.

Records show Mr Pearce reimbursed the Department of Premier and Cabinet $968.60 for flights and accommodation for that ill-fated trip, and that he has also reimbursed $14.95 for the rental of an in-room movie at the Crowne Plaza Newcastle in February.

Under NSW government rules, ministers approve their own domestic travel. There is no suggestion any of the trips – other than the June Canberra trip – were not work-related.

But the latest revelations are set to increase pressure on the embattled minister already dubbed “Grand Final Greg” over revelations he attended several sporting events in Melbourne on the taxpayer.

Mr Pearce has been beset by allegations since he was given a “final warning” by the Premier after being escorted from parliament drunk in late May. Mr Pearce has admitted he was drinking but says he had the flu and was “exhausted”.

Greg Pearce appointed private secretary’s husband to WorkCover role

On the occasions the minister has gone to Melbourne to attend the Melbourne Cup, Australian Open and AFL grand final, he charged the taxpayer up to $675 a night at the plush Langham Hotel and also stayed at the Art Series Blackman Hotel.

Both those hotels are five star, while the other places he has chosen to stay, such as the Crowne Plaza Newcastle and Sebel Kiama, are 4.5 star, with the Best Western City Sands in Wollongong having four stars.

When Mr Pearce travelled to the Australian Open with his wife last year, he stayed at the Art Series Blackman Hotel from Friday, January 20 to Monday, January 23 at a cost of $1164 plus $838.62 return airfare and $165.91 car hire.

The following Australia Day long weekend, he stayed at the Observatory Hotel in Port Macquarie from January 26 to 28 at a cost of $518.

Pearce travelled to Melbourne between June 23 and June 26, 2011 with his wife, staying at the Langham Hotel. He followed that with a Monday night stay at the Crowne Plaza Newcastle on June 27.

A week later, the minister spent a Saturday night at the Best Western Wollongong.

Greg Pearce punished with a month-long holiday

In December 2011, the minister spent a Thursday night at the Echoes Boutique Hotel at Katoomba for $355.35, then two nights at the Magistrates House in Orange for $390.

On May 11, 2012 the minister stayed at Melbourne’s Hilton on the Park from a Friday to a Sunday at a cost of $570.

For the AFL grand final last year, he stayed at the Langham at a cost of $1350 for two nights plus $453.60 in flights. The next weekend, he was at the Mercure Hunter Valley from Friday, October 5 to Sunday, October 7 at a cost of $587.10.

In November, when hosted by insurers and PremierState client Suncorp at the Melbourne Cup, he stayed at the Langham at a cost of $1360 plus $895 airfare, followed by a night at the Best Western Wollongong.

Mr Pearce has been accused of arranging government “jobs for the boys” and of being too close to the PremierState lobbying firm.

Too many trips, Mr Pearce

The Daily Telegraph revealed that PremierState lobbyist David Begg had been granted access with clients to Mr Pearce or his office 10 times in a 13-month period. Mr Begg’s wife is Mr Pearce’s former deputy chief of staff Natalie Ward but the pair have strenuously denied any wrongdoing and insist they maintained “strict protocols” with Ms Ward never involved in matters involving PremierState.A spokesman for Mr Pearce provided a one-line statement in response to a number of questions on his travel: “All travel is within the guidelines and is related to portfolio duties.”

Mr Pearce refused to answer any questions on the trips.

The Premier’s office declined to comment.

Read more: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/nsw-finance-minister-greg-pearce-spent-22000-on-taxpayer-funded-trips/story-fni0cx12-1226687162124

Jul 29

Human cost of budget cuts

Health Cuts

As we contemplate the possibility of further squeezes on government budgets, it is worth considering the human cost of these cuts. I’m not talking about the heavy impact of job losses on families and the cost to the community when decent public service jobs go. I’m talking about what will happen to the staff left behind delivering services if the knife comes out again.

Human cost of budget cuts

For every job lost, there is a corresponding rise in the workload of the team left behind and a risk the pressure causes some to crack. If you think this an exaggeration, think again; the cost of dealing with mental stress in the workplace is rising, and rising particularly fast within the Australian Public Service.

A growing chorus of voices, including no less an eminent voice than the QC charged with reviewing the legislation governing compensation, is linking spending cuts to a rise in psychological injuries. In the past three years, the number of claims by the federal government’s insurer, Comcare, for psychological injuries has risen by almost a third and, in 2011-12, they accounted for 11 per cent of all accepted claims and 32 per cent of total claim costs. The average cost of a mental-stress claim, which can cover conditions from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to serious anxiety and adjustment disorder, is now $250,000, according to Comcare. Federal public servants make up most of this scheme and those claims.

But it is not only public servants who are afflicted: the whole workforce is affected. The World Health Organisation predicts that depression will be the No.1 cause of disability in both the developed and developing worlds by 2030 and, according to a study by the University of Queensland and Beyondblue, mental illness already results in a loss of $2.7 billion in employee productivity in Australia each year.

There are a number of reasons why the costs and claims for mental stress are rising, among them long delays along the chain of employment from the injured worker who prevaricates committing to a claim for fear of the stigma through employers struggling to respond and right up to Comcare approving or rejecting it.

Yet as my union fields about 2000 calls a year from members on Comcare or WorkCover issues, I can tell you the pressure that is being placed on certain sections of the public service to deliver more with less is taking its toll.

About 37 per cent of those queries are from staff in the largest government workplace, the Department of Human Services, and most of those are for psychological injuries.

We have many cases on our books of members who cite bullying and harassment by managers to complete ever-increasing workloads as the reason they have hit the wall.

DHS is dealing with one million more calls from the public a year and yet, in three years, it has lost more than 4000 staff.

Meanwhile, the paperwork and claims are building up – there are 425,000 outstanding Centrelink debts alone – and the public is getting frustrated. Thankfully this does not always manifest itself in abuse of and aggression towards staff, but unfortunately such behaviour is becoming more commonplace. Last year, there was a 37 per cent rise in reports of aggressive and abusive behaviour towards the department’s staff.

It’s an ugly combination, with pressure from both sides of the service desk squeezing vulnerable staff in the middle. More than half of workers compensation claims from customer aggression result in a psychological injury, according to Comcare figures.

It is not only my union that is pointing the finger of blame at cuts. In his review of the legislation that governs compensation, Melbourne barrister Peter Hanks, QC, reported it was ”reasonable to suggest that a principal explanation for the increased incidence of psychological injury claims can be found in the increasing demands placed on employees through such mechanisms as efficiency dividends, constant performance evaluation and the restructuring of employment arrangements”.

There is a common misconception that people like to be off work, lounging around at home at their employers’ expense. In the context of the public service, it feeds into the myth of the bludging bureaucrat. The situation was not helped by a slew of stories earlier this year that detailed the often bizarre medical claims of a few stricken workers. What wasn’t commonly acknowledged was that Comcare had rejected the more extravagant cases, but was forced to pay up after lengthy court battles.

The debate we should have been having – about how we as a community can stop this wave of psychological injuries from turning into a tsunami – was overshadowed by unfounded criticisms of the Comcare scheme.

No one wants to see a workforce blighted by mental illness, least of all the worker who is looking ahead at months if not years of an unproductive and, for many, an unfulfilled life. It is clear that no one section of the community can sort this; unions, employers, government and health professionals need to work together to find a solution. However, I fear little will be achieved if the government places yet more stress on a workforce through blunt-edged cuts.

Nadine Flood is national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union.

 

Jul 29

Lobbyists had access to minister Greg Pearce

UNDER-fire minister Greg Pearce and his office held 10 meetings in 13 months with clients of controversial Liberal powerbroker Michael Photios’ lobbying firm – with one meeting leading to a government decision which saved the pubs and clubs movement “millions”.

C/O The Australian: Lobbyists had access to minister

Mr Photios’ partner at PremierState, David Begg, who is a long-term factional ally of Mr Pearce’s, organised and attended at least 10 meetings between his clients and the minister’s office.

Mr Begg’s wife Natalie Ward was until recently Mr Pearce’s deputy chief of staff. The pair maintain they obeyed “strict protocols” and have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

Records obtained under freedom of information show Mr Begg was meeting on an almost monthly basis with Mr Pearce or his office, with clients including Allianz, Employers Mutual, The Australian Hotels Association, the Interact Group and the Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association.

A letter from Mr Begg to Mr Pearce’s chief of staff in June, 2012, asks for an urgent meeting for the managing director of Employers Mutual, Cameron McCullagh, Australian Hotels Association boss Paul Nicolaou, Clubs NSW boss Anthony Ball and David Begg.

Mr Nicolaou confirmed that the meeting was to discuss the government allowing Hotel Employers Mutual to extend its licence (or own Workcover scheme) to include clubs. But he said he did not believe Mr Begg ended up attending. Mr Begg also said he did not attend. Mr Ball has denied attending.

The letter says the meeting was to discuss a proposal to kill-off a Workcover “pre-condition for extension” that Hotels Employers Mutual also “take on a number of tail claims” or previous claims.

Mr Nicolaou confirmed that, after they spoke to Mr Pearce, the minister told them to take it up with Workcover and the requirement was later dropped.

The revelations come after Mr Pearce was warned by the Premier for being drunk in parliament, and after he was sent on a month’s stress leave after he was found to have misused travel entitlements on a “private trip” to Canberra to attend a PremierState function.

The Premier also took the responsibility for green slips off Mr Pearce after controversy over the fact PremierState had brought insurers to meet him.

Mr Pearce claimed he had “declined most requests for meetings” from the lobbyists: “All communications have been strictly in accordance with rules for dealing with lobbyists.”

The minister said any assertion that PremierState clients had got most of what they wanted was a “lie”.

A spokeswoman for Mr Pearce said the decision to give the clubs their own specialised workers comp scheme was promised in opposition in October, 2010.

Mr Begg said in a statement: “All clients represented by PremierState are disclosed on the registry.

“Our role is to give strategic advice and sometimes assist with advocacy.

“All policy determinations are made by government in the best interests of the state.”

Mr Photios said his firm had believed there was no conflict with Mr Begg lobbying Mr Pearce once the “familial ties” were broken by the deliberate exclusion of Ms Ward from all meetings.

sDeputy Opposition Leader Linda Burney said last night: “The Premier should order a full investigation into the decision making processes within the Minister for Finance’s office and remove Greg Pearce from the Cabinet.”

“These are extremely serious matters that taxpayers deserve answers on.”

While the Green Slip roundtable occurred on Wednesday under the supervision of Disability Services Minister Andrew Constance, Mr Pearce was seen dining for two hours at the Emperor’s Choice restaurant with David Begg and Natalie Ward.

He and Mr Begg told The Daily Telegraph it was a “private lunch”.

Jul 26

Planned SA WorkCover overhaul helps injured gain greater self sufficiency and health outcomes

better health layers

Workcover South Australia are moving towards compensating long term injured workers so that they can exit the workers compensation system in a dignified manner.  We can only hope Workcover NSW advocate some workers compensation harmonisation and embrace what their interstate counterparts are doing.

C/O Australian Lawyers Alliance:

“Industrial Relations Minister John Rau’s announcement today to pay out long-term SA WorkCover injury victims is likely to facilitate better health outcomes for such workers and is a long overdue development,” Australian Lawyers Alliance SA President, Patrick Boylen, said.

“There are many long-term claimants who cannot return to their previous jobs who would welcome the opportunity to be paid an appropriate level of compensation to leave the WorkCover scheme,” Mr Boylen said.

“It is important to remember how beneficial it is to remove such injury victims from a drip-feed approach that makes it difficult for them to plan and get on with their lives,” he said.

Mr Boylen said he hoped the changes would also release funds to better target important rehabilitation work to further maximize health outcomes.

“Until a person or their family is affected by injury, it is impossible to fully comprehend the upheaval and despair such injury creates with the day-to-day lives of those affected.

“These changes allow the injured to regain control of their lives and to leave the scheme at the appropriate time with dignity.”

Details: Australian Lawyers Alliance SA President, Patrick Boylen,

http://lawyersalliance.com.au/media-current-affairs/planned-sa-workcover-overhaul-helps-injured-gain-greater-self-sufficiency-and-health-outcomes/

Jul 25

It’s time to end workplace bullying

workplace-bullying-700x300

NINE months since a Parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying, a national code of practice is in danger of being scuttled by employer groups.

C/O Working Life – Breaking the code of silence on workplace bullying

Safe Work Australia, an independent national body which oversees Australia’s workplace health and safety laws, was given the task of drawing up the code of practice. But the process remains unfinished.

From the very beginning, Australian unions have strongly supported the addition of a national Code of Practice on Workplace Bullying, but the recently released drafts show how successfully business groups have been in watering it down to ensure well-established risk factors are no longer included.

Organisational culture, leadership styles and workplace relationships have been removed.

So too are workforce characteristics, which includes – young workers, apprentices and workers in minority groups – despite their over representation in injury and workplace bullying statistics.

Compared to earlier versions, this draft suggests that workplace bullying is a worker-to- worker phenomenon only with little regard for the ineffective boss or the toxic work environment as factors that are known to influencing bullying behaviours occurring.

To illustrate their importance, In September last year, the ABC’s 7.30 program highlighted the plight of one young autistic apprentice who’s first work experience of the world-of-work could not have been any worse. After enduring on-going verbal abuse he was sprayed with industrial solvent and set alight in what the business owner described as a ‘bit of banter’. At the time of airing, he was still suffering nightmares and receiving counselling for his ordeal.

Regrettably, the perpetrator in that instance was fined $500 and given a good behaviour bond and remarkably, still held his position at the business where the incident occurred.  Despite the Director of Public Prosecutions reviewing the case, it was decided that there was little prospect of securing a conviction under OHS legislation either against the company or the individual.

Aside from the myriad of reasons as to why this case did not get beyond first base, the facts highlight that certain groups of workers are more at risk to bullying than others – in this instance a young, apprenticed and intellectually challenged worker.


Bullying is costing the economy upwards of $6 billion a year in lost productivity. That is not counting the untold cost on human lives.


When considered against the broader backdrop of insecure work arrangements, particularly casualisation under which nearly 2.2 million or one-fifth of the working population of Australian are engaged,  the need for clearly addressed risk factors becomes  become all the more important.

Substantially, these workers are young and concentrated in industries such as retail, accommodation and food services and a significant proportion are female. Research conducted by Safe Work Australia identified that casuals were twice as likely to be injured compared to their full-time counterparts. As a class of workers, casual workers are the most likely to be injured and the least likely to speak up about health and safety concerns .

Age, position and intellectual ability are some of the factors that the business community need to be aware of and factors that Australian unions submitted must be re-instated in this code of practice. Not all workers are the same and this code needs to recognise this fact.

By the most conservative estimate, bullying is costing the economy upwards of $6 billion a year in lost productivity. That is not counting the untold cost on human lives.

Unions want the code of practice to reinstate known risk factors, and to extend the definition of bullying to include cyber-stalking, email and social media abuse, practical jokes and initiation rites.

“Workplace bullying damages lives, and it should be treated in the same way as other workplace hazards,” says ACTU President Ged Kearney.

“Employers are required by law to provide a safe workplace, and this should include acting to prevent bullying. A strong workplace culture is the best way to stop bullying, but this can only occur if employers’ responsibilities are clearly outlined in regulation.

“It is not good enough to treat bullying as isolated incidents or ‘personality clashes, employers must recognise that bullying is often a product of the culture they create in the workplace.”

There is a short window of opportunity to influence Safe Work Australia, and prevent employers from weakening the code so much it is meaningless.

Unions are calling on workers around Australia to sign a petition to Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten to ensure the new bullying code does not let employers shirk their responsibilities to provide a safe working environment.

Ultimately, the code’s silence on these factors may end up costing business more on account of the lack of information needed to fulfill their duty of care to workers.

Rather than continue this hollow argument on costs, business should welcome the clarity and certainty that a complete code would provide.

http://workinglife.org.au/2013/07/24/breaking-the-code-of-silence-on-workplace-bullying/

 

 

Jul 25

CTP changes bad for NSW drivers: Greens

CTP NSW

NSW residents injured in car crashes will receive less financial support under proposed reforms which will also protect insurance companies’ profits, the Greens say.

C/O CTP changes bad for NSW drivers: Greens – Yahoo!7

In May, Finance Minister Greg Pearce introduced laws he said would make the state’s Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme fairer and more affordable.

Under the new “no fault” scheme accident victims would be able to access pay outs faster and motorists would pay up to 15 per cent less for their greenslips, he said.

And those injured in car accidents won’t have to prove fault to claim compensation, a move aimed at hastening existing legal processes.

A five-year limit on medical expenses will also be introduced as part of the package.

Ahead of a meeting on the CTP changes to be held on Wednesday NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said compensation to “almost 90 per cent” of those injured on the state’s roads would be cut.

“If this becomes law it will be both expensive and unfair,” he said in a statement.

“The government has clearly had a closer look at the viability of their new administrative scheme and abandoned any firm promise of reduced premiums.

“This package protects insurer profits and fails to propose any mechanism to claw back excessive insurer profits and return them to motorists.”

The reforms were paused earlier in June, with Premier Barry O’Farrell saying the government had received “concerns from a number of sectors”.

The upper house is expected to debate the bill in late August.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/18121445/ctp-changes-bad-for-nsw-drivers-greens/

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