WORKERS COMPENSATION SCHEME
The Hon. LUKE FOLEY:
My question is directed to the Minister for Finance and Services. In response to a question in this place on 28 March the Minister stated:
In the work injury damages space everybody gets a prize except the scheme.
Will the Minister tell Emily Orchard, a nurse of many years experience and who has had four spinal operations following a workplace injury and is sitting in the gallery today, what prize did she win?
The Hon. GREG PEARCE:
If Emily is here I am very sorry about her injury. It is not acceptable. If anybody cared to read Hansard
or any of the other statements I have made they would see that once again the Leader of the Opposition has stooped to taking out of context a comment I made. That is fine. The Labor Party was in government for 16 years. The problems we now have with the workers compensation scheme are essentially entirely of its making. The scaremongering of members opposite is very much an indication of their true lack of bona fides when it comes to dealing with the workers compensation scheme. This Government is determined to have an ongoing scheme that will support workers getting back to work as quickly as possible, if they can. If they cannot, it will ensure they have the opportunity to be supported in a way that gives them the best opportunity in life.
I notice Mr Casey is also in the President's Gallery. Mr Casey was quoted in the Sun-Herald
article on 22 April 2012. I am sure Mr Casey's problems and difficulties are such that he deserves all the support we can give him. I hope that WorkCover, the insurance agents, the unions and even the Labor Party will support him. I encourage Mr Casey to take the opportunity that we in the Government have just given him, that is, the opportunity to go to the inquiry we have established and explain what happened to him and to go through the problems with the workers compensation scheme. We want our inquiry, the Government's inquiry, Parliament's inquiry—
Mr David Shoebridge:
The Government's inquiry.
The Hon. GREG PEARCE:
It is the Government's: we initiated it. I encourage Mr Casey and Emily to offer their stories to the inquiry to make sure they are transparently out there, publicly out there, because I know that WorkCover, under this mob opposite, let them down. We are determined to change the workers compensation scheme and to change WorkCover to look after workers and to look after the New South Wales population. For 16 years those opposite have let these people down.