Yvonne Henderson

Yvonne Henderson

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    Kennett Govt's changes to workers' compensation laws draconian

    19/01/1993 12:00 AM
     
     
    The Victorian Liberal Government's draconian changes to workers compensation legislation have created the harshest and most inhumane scheme in Australia, Productivity and Labour Relations Minister Yvonne Henderson said today.
     
    Mrs Henderson warned Western Australians that any similar Liberal move in this State would mean thousands of injured workers would be left without fair compensation or adequate means of support.
     
    "The Kennett Government's new WorkCover Authority is severely reducing injured workers' benefits and has broken a pre-election promise by backdating the changes," Mrs Henderson said.
     
    "Mr Kennett is forcing injured workers to accept a compensation offer by an amazing amendment which means they can win a court case and still lose," she said.
     
    "If workers do not want to accept a WorkCover offer and wish to take it to court for an independent decision, they must win at least 20 per cent more than they were offered or they are forced to pay all legal costs dating back to the beginning of the case.
     
    "Workers facing up to $20,000 costs will be forced to accept an offer rather than seek justice through the courts.
     
    "It is impossible to imagine how the Victorian Liberals could have dreamed up such an undemocratic, unjust system."
     
    Mrs Henderson said Mr Kennett had also abolished the Accident Compensation Tribunal and sacked its 11 judges, disregarding the convention of independence of the judiciary, and has removed employee representation from the WorkCover board.
     
    "Mr Kennett will increase costs to the Victorian economy and to employers as a result of industrial action - and will increase the suffering of people already suffering from workplace injuries and disease.
     
    "Western Australians are entitled to know if the Opposition here plans to follow the lead of their Victorian colleagues, or offer just treatment of men and women injured in the course of their duties."