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SA workers comp ‘double standard’ sees fireys struggle

  • February 19 2020
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SA workers comp ‘double standard’ sees fireys struggle

By Grace Ormsby
February 19 2020

There have been calls for an improvement to the compensation scheme on offer for injured volunteer firefighters in South Australia, and apply improvements more broadly to the state’s workforce.

Firefighters

SA workers comp ‘double standard’ sees fireys struggle

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  • February 19 2020
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There have been calls for an improvement to the compensation scheme on offer for injured volunteer firefighters in South Australia, and apply improvements more broadly to the state’s workforce.

Firefighters

The call comes in response to media reports in South Australia that the government had agreed to bolster the compensation scheme for injured volunteer firefighters to be in line with metropolitan paid counterparts.

The South Australian Law Society has flagged that volunteer firefighters – who comprise the majority of Country Fire Service members – whose injuries don’t reach the whole person impairment assessment of 30 per cent are presently only eligible for a maximum of two years of weekly payments to cover loss of income.

They are also only eligible for three years of medical expenses.

According to the society, for a number of injured fire fighters, the “extremely high” threshold of 30 per cent whole person impairment (WPI) “means serious injuries, sustained while protecting lives and defending properties that force them out of work for more than two years and require medical treatment for their injuries for far beyond three years, are essentially on their own after the cut-off periods”.

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Citing media reports labelling a “double standard” and the “injustice”, the law society has said there are flaws more broadly in the state’s current workers compensation regime.

“The limitations of the scheme that apply to volunteer firefighters apply to most South Australian workers,” it outlined.

As a result, the law society has said the biggest victims of the Return to Work scheme “are those who suffer significant work injuries who have not reached the onerous 30 per cent WPI threshold to receive ongoing maintenance, but will not be able to successfully return to work before their entitlements are cut”.

Discussion is needed about how the Return to Work scheme could be reformed to improve outcomes for injured workers more generally, so that “splinter” schemes are not necessary, a statement explained.

SA workers comp ‘double standard’ sees fireys struggle
Firefighters
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About the author

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Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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