Today’s announcement by WorkSafe Victoria of a $641 million loss in the past six months of operation further undermines the Baillieu Government’s case for ripping $471 million from the scheme.
Slater and Gordon WorkCover lawyer Marcus Fogarty said WorkSafe’s six-monthly financial and operational figures, released today, showed the organisation could not afford the Government’s planned cash grab.
“In uncertain economic times, it is staggering that the government would seek to further weaken the scheme by pinching nearly half a billion dollars from Worksafe, money that could be better used to help injured workers and promote safer workplaces.”
Mr Fogarty slammed the justification WorkCover Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips gave for stripping money from the scheme following today’s announcement.
“Gordon Rich-Phillips says the Government is just bringing WorkSafe into line with other government bodies, like the TAC, which provide money to prop up other areas of the budget that are not performing, well that is just nonsense,” he said.
“Victorian employers are pouring millions into WorkCover premiums each year to ensure injured workers receive fair treatment, not so the Government can siphon nearly half a billion from the scheme to balance its books. These funds should be invested as intended - in compensating seriously injured Victorians and preventing workplace injury."
“Injured workers and the workforce in general have every right be angry at the knowledge that money intended for these vulnerable Victorians is being absorbed into general revenue. Employers too are right to be concerned about what impact this unprecedented raid of the coffers might have on their premiums down the track.”
“That money should rightfully go to the people who need it – injured workers – not into propping up the government’s bottom line."