Archive | March, 2012

Allianz NSW workcover case managers threaten aworkcovervictimsdiary with a lawsuit!

About two weeks ago, received a Word letter (!) from  NSW Radford lawyers sent to our generic email address, on behalf of three unhappy Allianz NSW workcover case managers, threatening us with a lawsuit for defamation, excuse us!

Allianz NSW workcover case managers threaten aworkcovervictimsdiary with a lawsuit!

Allianz NSW workcover lawyer’s threatening letter

Note: it is worth mentioning that the letter was only picked up 4 to 6 days after it was sent, and accidentally, because it had been spammed by our email software due to the WORD attachment!





We did not defame anybody! Who is there to de-fame, please?

Two of the mentioned workcover case managers, who so rapidly ran to their lawyer, were in fact publicly trashed in a derogatory manner in a publicly published COURT case, which we had published long before the lawyer’s letter appeared in our generic email inbox, and long before the letter was -literally- and accidentally un-spammed!

We did not intentionally meet the “demands” of said threat, however and most unfortunately perhaps, we did remove and censor some of the comments!

A. We will re-summarise the Allianz NSW workcover case here in case you missed it:

The case was published on 14 February 2012, in a blog post article entitled: “Bullying workers’ comp insurer Allianz pays the price

The “defamatory” comments as stated (alleged) in the said lawyer’s letter were mainly direct copies and pastes of the following court case transcript!

In this horrid case, an injured worker had, according to the Judge, “good reason” to feel harassed by the insurers (Allianz NSW) who managed her compensation claim. A NSW court has ruled in finding her anxiety and stress were work-related. The Workers Compensation Commission, Deputy President Bill Roche heard the worker had suffered chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, social withdrawal and depression as a result of her physical injuries and the claims process.

An extract from the court case (transcript) which is publicly available on reads as follows:

“Ms Davis (plaintiff) spoke to Ms Reiner’s manager, Ms Rogers, and contacted WorkCover. She felt that the approach by Ms Reiner and Ms Rogers was unprofessional and constituted bullying and victimisation”.

“Following the exercise physiologist’s report, an officer from Allianz, Ms Reiner, telephoned Ms Davis, which made her angry and distressed “because of her thinking that she could intimidate me”.

Ms Reiner said that Allianz was aware that Ms Davis had an injury, but they did not think it was as bad as had been reported. She said that Allianz had video surveillance of Ms Davis and reports of her carrying out a number of activities. Ms Davis did not deny having carried her daughter’s school backpack over her right shoulder, using exercise equipment in the park (with no weight or resistance), and being able to walk. Ms Davis was further distressed when Ms Reiner threatened her when she said that fraud was against the law. She felt frustrated when she saw what had been reported because of the surveillance”

Ms Davis said she felt it was unreasonable for Dr Kafataris to expect her to increase her hours of work and that it was “more of the bullying tactics” that were being directed towards her by Allianz. She felt that Ms Reiner had bullied her by sending her job seeker diaries even though she had been certified unfit

The day after Ms Davis received the surveillance report in the mail from Allianz, she experienced two significant panic attacks and a third attack on 3 November 2008 when she listened to voicemail messages from Ms Burgess. She felt that Allianz, through its letters and “bullying telephone calls”, was sabotaging her attempt to get on with her life. She felt that Allianz was treating her unfairly, and disguising their treatment of her by talking about the Workers Compensation Act caused her distress”

“She [plaintiff] described her experience dealing with Allianz (NSW) staff as being bullied by a global organisation…

  1. First, they make the same basic error referred to above under “psychological injury”. The worker did not suffer a “psychological injury” and her counsel did not argue that she had. It was therefore not necessary for the Arbitrator to find injury under s 4 and that employment had been a substantial contributing factor to any psychological injury. The Arbitrator erred in finding that the worker had received a psychological injury. However, applying the correct approach, the conclusion is the same. Ms Davis’s psychological condition resulted from her physical injuries. Her symptoms (from her physical and psychological conditions) resulted in her being totally unfit from 30 October 2008 to 30 April 2009 and partially unfit thereafter.
  2. Second, Ms Davis’s psychological symptoms developed in 2005, not 2008, and the evidence from Ms Marshell clearly linked those symptoms to her physical injuries and the claim for compensation for those injuries. The management of a claim for compensation is as much a part of the claim as the treatment of the injury.

Please read the court case – we are not defaming people – these are exact extract of a publicly available published court case –

B. The third Allianz NSW workcover case manager

With regards to the third case manager who ran to her lawyer in order to seek a lawsuit against me for defaming her, I wish to point out that a couple of our loyal readers had – rightly so it appears- flagged Ms S as a potentially “difficult” (shall we say) case manager.

As the letter correctly states, we did warn our readers and commentators that we would censor names if no evidence of wrongdoing was provided. This is also stated in our disclaimer. And we did in fact censor the names of all three case managers before the letter arrived! And we should not have had to!

Well, it turns out that Ms S has a lot of defamatory comments on the internet, and, rest assured, some of those date well before the existence of, which was only launched in August 2011. In addition, the authors and administrators of this blog reside in Victoria,  as is clearly stated on the left hand site of our blog (under the character). So to say that we would deliberately be spreading malicious ‘comments’ about somebody totally unbeknownst to us would be rather far fetched indeed.

But if that is not enough, folks, it turns out that Ms S, who is running to a lawyer to sue us for defamation – obviously because it is causing her harm and hurt – is in fact, herself, sourcing all those derogatory and defamatory comments on the internet about herself and LINKING them to her Facebook page and, hang on, is bloody well JOKING and MAKING fun of them! That is how “affected” (shall we say) Ms S is – how sick. So, in fact Ms S is responsible for spreading defamatory “stuff” like wildfire about herself and JOKES about it! That’s right, folks, but she sues US for allowing our readers and commentators to “flag” her in a comment, that was censored within days!? How pathetic.’s response to Allianz NSW workcover lawyer’s letter

We have taken the liberty to publish Allianz NSW lawyer’s threatening letter as we we did not defame anybody and if you are instructed and believe so we will provide you with our legal representatives’ address(es) for service of the Court Documentation.

What’s more a few lawyers including Atlas Legal Australia, specialised in Crime, Commercial Litigation and Intellectual Property Law Litigation, have also kindly volunteered to accept service of the writ or statement of claim for Defamation!

We would look forward to having all three women in the Witness box being cross examined.

We would also look forward to having Senior Allianz Staff at the court proceedings to enlighten the whole of Australia as to how Allianz trains it’s staff and issues procedural guidance. It should be an interesting case to deal with. It would undoubtedly cause a HUGE scandal and draw attention to workers plight.
You threaten to sue the blog owner -LOL- go right ahead it’s organisations like you without ethics and integrity that has cost me my career and assets.  I don’t have any; you want to bankrupt me go right ahead I don’t have anything to lose. But I will make sure in the trial ALL your dirty laundry is aired in public and what lengths you go to just to keep injured workers quiet about your corrupt system and morally corrupt employees.
Workcover victim also took the liberty to run your pathetic letter past Eric Brockovich during her personal visit. The first thing she had to say was that YOU are bullying an innocent, genuine injured worker and that YOUR intentions are clear, and that is that YOU (Allianz NSW) are desperately trying to shut up a strong, popular and ever growing VOICE for injured workers. The truth is obviously hitting a raw nerve somewhere, unfortunately this site is about the truth and nothing but the truth.
To go as far and as low as to intimidate an injured worker through a threatening lawyer’s letter  is nothing short of bullying. An unwarranted threat of this sorts puts a lot of unneeded stress and pressure on an injured worker and the last thing we want is to be bullied by lawyers or anyone about defamation or anything else.  Lawyers, and case managers (!) are trained in the art of bullying and they are very good at it. Unfortunately you have sent the letter to the wrong kind of person!
As stated on the disclaimer, and as any person in their right mind would do, and as stated in the defamation act, if any person has a concern about a derogatory comment or potential defamatory comment, the first thing they’d do is contact the administrators of the blog and discuss the issue.
There is NO NEED to threaten me/us (or anyone) or this blog with a lawsuit and make inappropriate, uneducated and rather intimidating demands.

Note: We do have more incriminating evidence of your wrongdoing, however we will keep that to hit the nail on your coffin in court, should you wish to proceed.

Oh and by the way

Updated 7 April 2012

click to enlarge

Our friends, whom you probably know very well, at state on their popular website that they:

“would highly recommend Michael Tehan or Paul Zawa of Minter Ellison to you Allianz, they both have some experience with defamation threats against impoverished Centrelink clients for publishing complaints on the internet. The keyword search engine optimization has just begun now Allianz have employed lawyers to try and shut-up injured workers and to intimidate a website detailing the experiences of aggrieved clients. Deny, Delay, Avoid and Intimidate seems to be the Allian of deatiln with injured workers. Radfords in NSW or Minter Ellison in Victoria, champions of the people, weasels being paid big money to silence unpaid injuered workers. Minter Ellison will do a basic cease and desist letter for $5,000. How much do Radford’s charge?

USA and International actions might not be their forté. Mark Radford demands that removes personal opinion even if it is true a basic defense to any false defamation claim, he also demands that they remove google cached pages which is beyond their power. Such a threatening letter to send to an aggrieved client. Alliaz are exposed again and again. Mr Radford and Minter Ellison will be rich on the proceeds of insurance policies that were meant to go to injured workers. Copyright and Access conditions Mr Radford. Previous aborted actions by Minter Ellison to try and silence aggrieved impoverished Centrelink clients”.


The Health and Safety for Beginners Daily

Updated 8 April 2012

The very popular Health and Safety for Beginners (HSfB) provides health and safety downloads, support for health and safety courses, toolbox talks, careers advice, vibrant discussion forums and much more… also published our article (with the full “intimidating lawyers letter!) on 7 and 8 April 2012 and circulated it in the UK (and worldwide) for all to see. Their digital magazine has been re-tweeted to date over 31 thousand times! Check them out –  and via twitter @hsfb

Isn’t there a saying, dear Ladies, that “what goes around comes around’? And that there is such a thing as “karma”!

The more you’ll try to -wrongfully- intimidate us in the hope to shut injured workers up (who have been ill-treated by ladies like you) the more your attempts to do so -wrongfully- will be spontaneously picked up by various popular media outlets and the more injured workers (and concerned, supportive members) will be aware of people like YOU!

It certainly appears to us, and in our very humble opinion, that your “lawyer” would have been better served instructing you on your rights and the relevant legislation… Or that YOU, lovely darlings, should have told your lawyer the FULL TRUTH!


We apologise profusely

We apologise for allowing our concerned readers to name you, and we apologise for having censored your last names in those comments to initials , but only after we gave them a warning that we would do so and only after a day or three, when we had physically a chance to do so. We sincerely apologise  that you had already been “defamed” in a publicly published NSW Court of Law and we apologise profusely of discovering that one of you finds it very funny that injured workers are very upset with the hurt you have caused them and that this person is now spreading those derogatory comments like wildfire, perpetuating her own “defamation”. We apologise even more profusely that you have now provided us with not only a very intimidating and demanding letter, but that you have also disclosed to us the first names of those ladies.

However, we do NOT apologise for showing Australia what you are trying to do to honest injured workers who are trying their best to expose the real workcover and the real workcover insurance practices in the hope of hopes to educate, and especially,  protect fellow and future injured workers from the further harm that you are so clearly perpetrating.

Click to view our official reply to those lovely ladies 🙂 🙂 🙂




Erin Brockovich visit to Workcover Victim – more pictures

Yesterday we received a package in the mail from from Matthew White at Shine Lawyers, who accompanied Erin Brockovich on her personal visit to Workcover Victim. The package not only included a signed and dedicated copy of Erin Brockovich’s famous movie, but also a copy of the high resolution version of the surprise visit’s moment as well as some pretty good pictures from Erin’s visit.

Erin Brockovich visit to Workcover Victim – more pictures

As I said, I kept touching Erin to make sure she was real and I wasn’t just dreaming 😉


This is Bobby, my 1 year old eclectus male parrot, who was quite frankly besotted with Erin Brockovich!

Discussing the dirty tactics of workcover insurers in Australia… Bindi – my 2 year old eclectus female parrot was listening in 😉

Note that Erin Brockovich is so down to earth that she chose to sit next to me on my day bed! That “elephant” on the left is used by me as a support pillow to prevent my shoulder of dislocating backwards when I lie down! It’s very good cos it’s got these “legs” that I can put exactly in the right places (like just behind the shoulder blade etc)… took me ages to find something suitable and not too ugly 😉

I have been wearing this sling for about 7 years now! And full-time for the past two years (24/7)!

Bindi couldn’t wait to get onto Erin’s shoulder! Did I tell you that Erin let her have some coffee out of her very own cuppa? She loves parrots. She had three African Grey parrots. Bindi loves being kissed on the belly! In fact Erin told me this really funny story where she kept on of her Africn Greys in her bedroom when she was still married… and we were talking about how well parrots mimic sounds… lol 😉

Erin also brought me some very yummy chocolate cake and then fed Bobby some – he loves nothing more than sweet stuff! Bindi is more into savoury and junk food like chips, pizza and spaghetti!


Me, Erin, Tony (my defacto) and Claire (my lawyer’s brilliant assistant).



Thank you Matt for the great pictures and oh Boy what an unforgettable day it was!






WorkCover case manager tells injured worker she is fat to deny benefit

Last night, we received an anonymous message via our share your story page, from a workcover advocate who regularly represents injured workers at conciliation. He writes to us that it astounds him how outrageous some insurance representatives and workcover case managers can get in either denying benefits or entitlements, or in explaining why they should not pay for an entitlement or pay less.

WorkCover case manager tells injured worker she is fat to deny benefit

The anonymous workcover advocate writes the following:

“I represent injury victims, and most often fight for their rights at conciliation disputes.  For over twenty years, I have talked with insurance company representatives (the dude who attends conciliation on behalf of the workcover insurance involved) about whether they would compensate my client for injuries, or whether they would pay for their entitled benefits such as medical care, home help, transport, assistive devices etc, and about how much they’d pay.

It astounds me how outrageous some insurance representatives (and workcover case managers) can get in either denying claims, or in denying benefits or entitlements or -even- in explaining why they should not pay for it or pay less.

Imagine a vile criminal telling the judge what his punishment should be:

 Judge, I only stabbed the guy in the leg six times, I think I shouldn’t go to jail, and that probation for six months will work.

Here are a few true recent example of  conversations I had:

Workcover insurance representative:  you client, Mr. Injured, only went to the doctor for six months and only had muscle injuries; his medical bills were way too high and we don’t think it was necessary for him to be off of work at his construction job; so we’re going to offer to pay half of his medical bills, none of his wages, and we’ll give him seven hundred dollars for his inconveniences, pain, aggravations, disruption of his life, and his suffering.

I had an workcover case manager once tell me that because my client was fat (yes, the case manager said fat), she must have had pre-existing problems, and that the accident didn’t cause much, if any of her current complaints of injury.

Those people are medically untrained and come with instructions to deny as much as possible (read: save money at all cost). They don’t understand medical terms, they are unable to read medical reports and most often will only cite parts of a medical report to make their point. They will make it extremely difficult for injured workers to obtain certain medical reports, for example “supplementary reports“, which contain additional evidence against the insurer’s decision.

On more than one occasion I have discovered -at conciliation- that cited extracts of so called ‘medical reports” were entirely fabricated and that, in fact, said reports did not even exist!

Many workcover insurance representatives will go at great lengths to deny a legit benefit or entitlement and will happily spend thousands of dollars in an attempt to do so. In most cases, this is just an exercise in intimidation and yet another tactic at wearing down the injured worker, in the hope that s/he abandons the dispute and settles for much less than s/he is entitled to.

In a recent conciliation dispute regarding home help, whereby the workcover case manager had repeatedly denied home help to a severely injured worker for over one year despite the injured worker having lost his right arm (amputation) AND having suffered a heart attack during the surgery (!!!), the insurance representative – fully knowing they had done wrong- rocked up at conciliation with a new written “offer” of home help, consisting of 45 minutes of home help per week.

Obviously, given the severity of the injuries and complications, we believed that 45 minutes per week was a joke and we requested a minimum of 1 hour per week of home help. The insurance representative flatly refused and the matter was referred to a medical panel for answer – now that is a joke.

Not only did the insurance pay around $3000 for the conciliation (the cost of all medical reports etc), but also happily paid approximately $5000 just to obtain the Medical Panel’s opinion on whether this severely incapacitated injured worker could have 1 hour of home help per week as opposed to 45 minutes per week.

Needless to say that the Medical Panel awarded the injured worker 2 and a half hours of home help per week – a way more realistic number of hours indeed, considering that the injured worker needs help with floor cleaning, hoovering, dusting, bathroom cleaning, ironing, washing, dish washing etc (not to mention court yard sweeping and gardening).

What I am trying to convey here is that the workcover insurance, in this case (and many other cases) happily paid around $8000 just in an attempt to save 15 minutes of home help per week, for God’s sake. Now, $8000 would have paid for years of home help for this injured worker!

As infuriating as workcover case managers and insurance representatives can be, fact is the insurance industry has us by the collective… well, they are the only place to go to provide protection for the harms others cause us… and it is a bloody joke! They are playing with injured peoples health!

I sincerely hope that by sharing my story, many more injured workers and their representatives will in turn feel empowered to share their stories and experiences. As you have repeatedly stated, it is only by publicly sharing and publishing our stories and experiences that we can uncover and expose the real workcover and gather the evidence needed to make the much needed change.

Thank you.




Politicians’ flight bookings: pricelessly funny

One of our avid Forum members and blog readers – Imrippedoff- sent us a hilariously funny email a few days ago, which we believe you’d all enjoy. It is a political joke about a Canberra airport ticket agent – must read! This is priceless funny stuff; but alas, is only a small indication of how much trouble our country is in…

A Canberra airport ticket agent – must read!

This is priceless funny stuff;

but alas, is only a small indication

of how much trouble our country is in.

A Canberra airport ticket agent offers some examples of ‘why’ our country is in trouble:

1. I had a politician

Julie Bishop

ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn’t get messed up by being near the window.

(On an airplane!)

2. I got a call from a Queensland politician (Katter) staffer (Howard Bauleke), who wanted to go to Capetown .

I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, and then he interrupted me with, ”I’m not trying to make you look stupid,

but Capetown IS in Queensland….”

Without trying to make him look stupid, I calmly explained,

”Cooktown is in Qld, Capetown is in Africa ” his response (?)


Senior Labor Politician

Kevin Rudd

called, furious about a Florida package we did.

I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando ..

He said he was expecting an ocean-view room.

I tried to explain that’s not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state.

He replied, ‘don’t lie to me,

I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state!”


I got a call from a Politicians wife

Landra Reid

who asked, ”Is it possible to see England from Canada ?”

I said, ”No.”

She said, ”But they look so close on the map.”


Aide for a cabinet member

Janet Napolitano

once called and asked if she could rent a car in Sydney ..

I pulled up the reservation and noticed she had only a 1-hour layover in Sydney …

When I asked her why she wanted to rent a car, she said,

”I heard Sydney was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time.”

6. Independent (Wilkie) called last week. He needed to know how it was possible that his flight from Sydney left at 8:30 a.m., and got to Perth at 8:33 a.m.

I explained that Sydney was three hours ahead of Perth ,

but he couldn’t understand the concept of time zones.

Finally, I told him the plane went fast, and

he bought that..


Federal politician,

(Joe Hockey)

called and asked,

”Do airlines put your physical description on your bag

so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?”

I said, ‘No, why do you ask?’

He replied, ”Well, when I checked in with the airline,

they put a tag on my luggage that said (FAT), and I’m overweight.

I think that’s very rude!”

After putting him on hold for a minute, while I looked into it.

(I was dying laughing).

I came back

and explained the city code for Fraser Island is (FAT – Fraser Air Terminal), and the airline was

just putting a destination tag on his luggage.



(Bronwyn Bishop)

called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii ..

After going over all the cost info, she asked,

”Would it be cheaper to fly to California

and then take the train to Hawaii ?”


I just got off the phone with a Labor politician,

Peter Garrett

who asked,

”How do I know which plane to get on?”

I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied,

”I was told my flight number is 823,

but none of these planes have that number on them.”


Peter Slipper

Queensland Snoozetician

called and said, ”I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola , Florida ..

Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?”

I asked if he meant fly to Pensacola, Florida on a commuter plane.

He said, ”Yeah, whatever, smarty!”


Mary Landrieu,

Kevin Rudd’s aide called and had a question about the documents

she and her boss needed in order to fly to China ..

After a lengthy discussion about passports,

I reminded her that she needed a visa.

‘Oh, no I don’t. I’ve been to China many times and never had to have one of those.”

I double checked and sure enough, her stay required a visa.

When I told her this she said,

”Look, I’ve been to China four times

and every time they have accepted

my American Express!”


Prime Minister

Julia Gillard

called to make reservations,

”I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York ”

‘Yes, what flights do you have?” replied Ms Gillard.

After some searching, I came back with,

”I’m sorry, I’ve looked up every airport code

in the country and can’t find a rhino anywhere.”

”Julia said, ”Oh, don’t be silly! Everyone knows where it is.

Check your map!”

So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered,

”You don’t mean Buffalo , do you?”

The reply?

”Whatever! I knew it was a big animal.”

Now you know why the Governmentis in the shape that it’s in!

Could anyone be this DUMB?



I don’t write it, I just offer it for your consideration.

Like manure, you just gotta spread it around.

Thank you to MR (aka Iamrippedoff) for sending us this priceless joke, much appreciated 😉

Erin Brockovich radio interview

Erin Brockovich’s name has been made world famous by Hollywood, but she is the type of woman who had and would have achieved greatness regardless of movie star attention. Steve Austin (ABC radio Brisbane) spoke to Erin Brockovich.  He began by asking her if she had a “special friend” in Australia?!

Erin Brockovich radio interview

Please take a moment to listen to this great and inspiring interview/chat with Erin Brockovich… It starts with Steve Austin asking her whether she has a special friend in Australia… Erin says she is married to the community, to the people… and some of her very special “squeezes” include the Great Barrier Reef…


Just hearing Erin’s voice gives me goosebumps all over again…


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WorkCover system is flawed, WorkCover is the dictatorship insurer

GYMPIE (QLD) businessman Jason McPherson has hit out at a flawed WorkCover system that has more than doubled his workplace premium in the past 12 months and is regulated by three separate state bodies that do not appear to communicate with each other.

WorkCover system is flawed

Mr McPherson employs 60 people at CPM Engineering, off Waddell Rd on the northern outskirts of Gympie, and said his expanding business faced a huge challenge in meeting its WorkCover commitments which skyrocketed from $104,000 last year to $229,000 this year.

The increase was triggered by a single claim made by a former employee who spent two days working for the steel fabrication business in 2008; the claim has not yet been settled but Mr McPherson and his solicitor are confident it will be dismissed.

Until that happens, though, Mr McPherson must find $25,000 a month to meet his new WorkCover obligation.

“It’s crippling,” he said. “I could employ five apprentices for that amount of money.”

Mr McPherson’s attempts to have the matter resolved have met a brick wall. This is despite OHS giving CPM the highest possible safety rating in a recent audit of the business, and despite Mr McPherson spending $225,000 in the past 12 months on safety training, equipment and safety initiatives.

“Q-Comp is the governing body of WorkCover and Occupational Health and Safety, but nothing either one does, or how you are rated by either, affects premiums or claims,” he said.

WorkCover is the dictatorship insurer

“WorkCover is the dictatorship insurer that can make or break your business. The biggest problem we see is that people making decisions on premiums are office workers on a guaranteed wage no matter how much or how little they achieve, or how much or little business experience they have with operating such a thing.

“As a business owner I know and appreciate that my biggest asset is my staff and I need to know that their income is protected to support their families and commitments in the case of injury while working. But if in a year you don’t have a claim, that premium should be banked in some way to go towards a claim if it were to happen, not be used for government investment (as it is now).”

Mr McPherson contacted Member for Gympie David Gibson and Labor candidate Ben Parker.

“Thirty minutes after I sent the email to Mr Parker I had a phone call from Industrial Relations,” he said.

“I got more accomplished in five days with him than in the previous nine months.”

Mr Gibson promised Mr McPherson that if the LNP was elected this weekend it would conduct a full investigation into how WorkCover operates, from claims right through to financial statements and how premiums are calculated.

“I told him ‘if you don’t follow through with that statement it will be the third time you have let me down after a meeting’,” Mr McPherson said.




WorkCover Vic law enables Treasurer to tax at will and whim

Did you know that the WorkCover Vic legislation just introduced by the Baillieu Government will give the Treasurer the almighty power to tax the Victorian WorkCover Authority (WorkSafe) at will and at whim?

WorkCover Vic law enables Treasurer to tax at will and whim

As you all know, the Victorian government flagged (late last year already) its intention to pull $471M out of the WorkCover scheme as a “dividend” over the next four years, which is nothing than just a raid on its cash.

This ‘raid’ was met with howls of protest from many, including the former Chairman of the Victorian WorkCover Authority, James MacKenzie, who slammed it saying, “The big risk is that employer premiums will have to rise, or benefits to injured workers will have to be slashed”. Yesterday about 300 workers rallied to protest against the cash raid, however, the legislation was passed late last night.

However, Mr Baillieu, could not care less and, against all expectations, is now giving the Treasurer and the Department of Treasury and Finance the power to determine how much they will remove from the WorkCover coffers each year!

The almighty powerful Treasurer will now, sadly, be able to assess the size of the Government’s potential financial black hole and then decide how much exactly it needs to withdraw from WorkCover. No need for parliamentary oversight, supervision, scrutiny, no guidelines, no safeguards,no nothing!!!

Considering that it is Victorian businesses that fund WorkCover – really- through their premium payments, this move by Baillieu is essentially nothing more than a new State business tax that is decided by him, at a whim.

This makes it of course increasingly more attractive for Victorian companies to abandon WorkCover in favour of private self-insurance and by doing so it puts even more pressure on the premiums of the struggling and decreasing number of companies and businesses left in the general ‘pool’.

Mr Baillieu and the Hon Minister Gordon Rich Phillips repeatedly tell us that they will not cut benefits. But what they don’t tell us is that they are in the middle of re-drawing the workers compensation legislation!!! It is only a matter of time before our entitlements will be CUT. Unless you believe in the “coincidence” that the Victorian Government happens to review the workcover legislation at the same time as -franly- stealing huge “dividend” out of the workcover scheme?!

What we also don’t understand is that Victoria repeatedly -and proudly- boasts that they have the the soundest workcover scheme in Australia. [popup url=’ ‘] Just check out the latest Safe Work Australia report [/popup]. Even Mr Pearce and Mr Barry O’ Farrel repeatedly refer to the scheme in Victoria which they believe is an “example” scheme!

WorkCover Victoria has no unfunded claims liabilities and quite a strong balance sheet, which means it can continue to improve safety within Victoria while keeping premiums to a minimum. But it is always under pressure. For example,last year, WorkSafe recorded a $641 million loss in the 6 months of the financial year to December 2011. If you read the media reports carefully, you will soon realise that the ‘losses’ are due to poor investment and investment returns (and thus the way the scheme has been allowed to run!) – not because of WorkSafe’s “generosity” to injured workers or injured workers’ “milking the system” as is often and wrongly believed or made out.

We strongly believe that the Victorian Government should continue to strongly support WorkCover (WorkSafe) so that safety in the workplace for employees can be promoted and prevented and so that reasonably fair benefits can be provided to workers, unfortunate enough, to be injured in the workplace. Stealing money from its coffers will undoubtedly jeopardise this.

We believe that by allowing the Government to – frankly – pay “dividends”, from the WorkCover coffers, to itself and at a rate or a level it determines at a whim, puts at risk the rights and the benefits of all injured workers!




Large parts of the Victorian public service could be outsourced to the private sector

LARGE parts of the Victorian public service could be outsourced to the private sector as the state government scrambles to free up cash to boost infrastructure and services. Community and Public Sector Union Victorian secretary Karen Batt was unsympathetic, accusing it of ‘‘taking the public out of public service… There is clearly a privatisation agenda’’

Large parts of the Victorian public service could be outsourced to the private sector

In what could be the biggest shake-up of the public sector since the Kennett era, a government taskforce headed by Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Helen Silver is believed to be closely scrutinising a range of administrative and support roles, including information technology, human resources, finance, corporate services, legal services and the government reporting service.

The government is  applying to the Australian Taxation Office to offer a restricted class of redundancies targeting between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of some  agencies, while avoiding workers  involved in delivery of ‘‘front-line’’ services.

Department of Human Services secretary Gill Callister has confirmed the department will shed about 500 positions. The Department of Sustainability and Environment is likely to lose about 200,  while the Department of Business Innovation is likely to lose 15 per cent of its staff — about 110 positions. It is believed the Department of Primary Industry will lose about 400 positions and  Justice around 690.

In addition to the proposed cuts from the so-called Better Services Taskforce, an unreleased review of state finances, headed by Kennett-era Treasury secretary Mike Vertigan, has also recommended deep public sector cuts, outsourcing, privatisation and spending cuts.

The government has asked the Vertigan review to examine ‘‘private sector involvement in service delivery’’.

The moves have been initiated as the government tries to deliver a minimum $100 million budget surplus as part of a  strategy to pay for future infrastructure without taking on debt. With the budget deeply in deficit during the second half of last year and revenue weak, it is struggling to find the money.

Community and Public Sector Union Victorian secretary Karen Batt was unsympathetic, accusing it of ‘‘taking the public out of public service… There is clearly a privatisation agenda’’.

Labor frontbencher  Martin Pakula said: ‘‘If the Premier is getting ready to bring in the toecutters, he must come clean now and tell Victorians what it means for jobs.’’

The  government is also facing  hostility on another front, with business and unions attacking its decision to raid the Victorian WorkCover Authority to keep the budget in the black. Laws passed  last night will result in $471 million being taken out of the WorkCover Authority over four years.

Australian Industry Group Victorian director Tim Piper said  no other workplace insurance system in Australian paid a dividend to government.

Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Mark Stone said the move ‘‘must not endanger the government’s capacity or willingness’’ to cut WorkSafe premiums.

More than 500 unionists rallied  against the changes. Ralph Edwards  of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union said Premier Ted Baillieu ‘‘has finally done something… Unfortunately, he’s done the wrong thing.’’

Cesar Melhem of the Australian Workers’ Union said:  ‘‘No government should help itself to workers’ money’’.


Another naive and inexperienced government cheered on by accountants. I’m sure their private mates will give frank and fearless advice – not.

You’d think the Kennett era would remind us that privatisation = increased costs to the public with no motivation to protect the peoples assets


Great idea, folks, can we please also outsource the Government?




Vic workers rally against Workcover ‘raid’

Unbeknownst to us (and many injured workers!), about 300 Victorian Tradeshall Union workers rallied against WorkCover raid today!

Vic workers rally against Workcover ‘raid’

Sandra Oakley was a district nurse when a lower back injury forced her to stop work more than a decade ago.

Workcover covered her recovery costs over six months, but she fears that support may no longer be there if the Victorian government proceeds to strip nearly half a billion dollars from Workcover.

The community health nurse was one of dozens of workers and union officials gathered outside Victoria’s Parliament House to protest the move on Thursday.

The rally comes as parliament considers legislation to strip $470 million from Workcover’s budget over four years and channel it into general revenue.

Ms Oakley said the thought of not having an income because of illness and injury was a huge issue for workers.

“I’m appalled at the state government siphoning off profits from Workcover to prop up other areas of their mismanagement,” she told AAP.

“When those funds are needed they may not be there.”

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews called the move a “smash and grab”, saying Workcover’s surplus should be used to cut premiums and invest in worker safety.

“This is wrong. It’s not Ted Baillieu’s money. And he ought not be pilfering and running a smash and grab on the Victorian workplace authority,” he told journalists.

“If this vote goes ahead Ted Baillieu will be the first premier in the state to steal money from the workplace safety authority.”

Mr Andrews said the bill would deprive injured workers of increases in benefits and fail to dent employer premiums, making hiring more expensive.

Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips defended the government’s decision saying the move would not affect workers’ premiums or compromise workplace safety.

He said the interests of taxpayers who underwrite the scheme must be taken into account.

“It’s appropriate in that situation that taxpayers have an upside benefit when the scheme performs,” he told journalists on Thursday.

He denied the move would make employers less likely to contribute to the scheme.

Victorian Trades Hall Council spokesman Brian Boyd said the move could result in more accidents in the workplace.

“We’ve got legislation before the state parliament that is going to fill its own budget black hole. That’s not good enough,” he told AAP.

“If you take so much money in one big bite it will undermine the ability of Workcover to help us in safety initiatives in the workplace.”

Obviously we applaud the Victorian Tradeshall for their efforts, however we are a little disappointed that the rally was not broadly advertised – it truly seems that each Union has its own agenda and business, what a shame!

More articles:

Workers rally against Workcover cuts

Workers protest Baillieu’s plan to cut WorkCover

Rally against Victorian Workcover ‘raid’


WorkCover unfunded liability $222 million to $1.17 billion!

According to a press release on the [popup url=’ ‘] Liberal SA website [/popup] – dated 23 March 2012- the latest actuarial figures to 31 December last year show the unfunded liability has exploded from $952 million to $1174 million in just six months. WTF!

$222 million blowout in WorkCover’s unfunded liability – now $1.17 billion!

Mar 23, 2012

Hon Rob Lucas MLC

Shadow Minister for Finance

$222 million blowout in WorkCover’s unfunded liability – now $1.17 billion!

Another blowout – this time $222 million – has taken WorkCover’s unfunded liability back over $1 billion.

The latest actuarial figures to 31 December last year show the unfunded liability has exploded from $952 million to $1174 million in just six months.

The unfunded liability was just $55 million in June 2001. The following table shows the diabolical performance of WorkCover under the Labor Government:

Year    Amount ($m)
2000/01    55.5
2001/02    192.4
2002/03    591.1
2003/04    572.1
2004/05    652.1
2005/06    694.1
2006/07    843.5
2007/08    984
2008/09    1,059
2009/10    982
2010/11    952
As at 31 Dec 2011    1,174

“Labor’s management of WorkCover has been an unmitigated disaster with employers still paying the highest levies in the nation and the scheme suffering from the worst return-to-work figures in the nation,” Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said.

“When the Labor Government introduced their controversial amendments to the legislation in 2008 they claimed their actuarial advice was the scheme would be fully funded within five to six years! It is clear this will be yet another Labor broken promise.

“In summary, after a decade of Labor the unfunded liability has blown out by more than $1 billion,” Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said.

“Labor can’t lay all the blame on global economic conditions, because for most of the past 10 years there was strong national economic growth, yet the unfunded liability rose year after year.”

[popup url=’ ‘] View original article on Liberal SA’s website>> [/popup]

WorkCover deficits ‘unmitigated disaster’

STATE WorkCover schemes are suffering worsening deficits, with the losses in South Australia now more than $1 billion.

A $222 million blowout in the unfunded liability of the South Australian scheme has created more headaches for the government and businesses struggling to pay growing premiums.

The latest actuarial figures to December 31 show the unfunded liability has grown from $952m to $1.174bn in just six months. The unfunded liability was $55m in June 2001.

The state-based WorkCover schemes oversee the compensation of employees injured in workplace accidents.

An audit by the NSW Auditor-General in November found the NSW WorkCover scheme had a deficit of $2.4bn.

The report said the deficit grew by $900m in the year to June 30 as workers found new ways to exploit the scheme, which struggled under the weight of losses already sustained during the global financial crisis. The South Australian opposition finance spokesman, Rob Lucas, said yesterday that Labor’s management of WorkCover had been an “unmitigated disaster”.

“Employers are still paying the highest levies in the nation and the scheme is suffering from the worst return-to-work figures in the nation,” Mr Lucas said.

“When the Labor government introduced their controversial amendments to the legislation in 2008 they claimed their actuarial advice was the scheme would be fully funded within five to six years. It is clear this will be yet another Labor broken promise. Labor can’t lay all the blame on global economic conditions, because for most of the past 10 years there was strong national economic growth, yet the unfunded liability rose year after year.”

SA Treasurer Jack Snelling yesterday said the underlying performance of WorkCover was still strong. “The reasons for an increase in the unfunded liability is because of reduced earnings on assets due to global economic factors as well as a reduction in the discount rate,” he said.