Police not affected by workers compensation cuts

NSW police will be exempt from radical cuts to workers compensation benefits and maintain their existing entitlements.

Police Minister Mike Gallacher last night said the state government will maintain the current workers’ compensation and death and disability scheme for police officers.

“This commitment includes preserving the entitlement to journey claims and continuing to provide the best possible death and disability scheme,” Minister Gallacher said.

A government-appointed parliamentary committee reviewed the workers compensation scheme and recommended slashing benefits for all workers. It recommended abolishing journey claims, capping medical expenses and cutting weekly benefits.

Mr Gallacher said PricewaterhouseCoopers had calculated the Workers Compensation scheme had a deficit of more than $4 billion, making the scheme’s reform “absolutely necessary”.

However, questions about the validity of the claimed deficit, which were published in a draft version of the committee’s report, were deleted from its final version.

The Herald obtained a copy of the draft report which quoted the Australian Lawyers Alliance saying: “If you wanted to produce a report that had this scheme $10 billion in surplus on its projections versus $10 billion in deficit, the way you go about setting assumptions either way, you can achieve that outcome”.

Greens MP, David Shoebridge, said he welcomed the exemption of any employees from drastic cuts to the workers compensation scheme.

“But there is no reason to privilege police over fire fighters, nurses or construction workers,” he said. “The government having to exempt police proves how harsh their changes will be.”

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