The workers’ compensation system in NSW has been dramatically scaled back and restructured since the current state government came to office in 2011. Real benefit payouts have been cut by 30 percent, with the resulting “savings” passed on to employers in lower premiums (down 40 percent over the past decade). Yet injured workers continue to bear the real cost of these changes, with benefit cuts (and further premium cuts) still occurring. Over 4000 workers will have their monthly benefits cancelled entirely later this month.
The changes were all justified by a supposed fiscal “emergency” that existed in 2011, but that deficit was exaggerated and mostly the result of temporary factors connected to the Global Financial Crisis. Now the system boats a large and growing accumulated surplus. Annual financial reports released by the NSW workers insurance scheme last week confirm that the system has ample financial reserves with which to fund the maintenance and improvement of benefits for injured workers.
See our full 4-page fact sheet on the financial condition of the NSW Workers’ Compensation system for more details on the size of the accumulated surplus, other “hidden” financial cushions, and the extent of the benefit cuts that have been endured by injured workers in the state.