DATE: 1st JUNE 2007

SUBJECT: WORKCOVER STATISTICS

SENDER: SUE ELLIS (WorkCover)


Good afternoon Andrea

I recently visited VOID's website - it is easy to navigate, very professional and an excellent resource for workers who have lost a loved one because they have died as a result of their work.

I did see that you have an article on your website regarding WorkCover's poor management of the Scheme by Phil Moir. You of course have the right to post whatever information you believe would be of interest to injured workers and their families, but I thought you should know that some information provided in the article is not accurate.

WorkCover's website has an article, which provides accurate information about redemptions and their impact on the Scheme. I have provided a link to this document for your information 

http://www.workcover.com/Home/Bettertogether/News/Mediareleases/Moreredemptionpayout swillnotfixScheme.aspx

WorkCover also has a number of forums for keeping stakeholders informed, including: our injured worker stakeholder group that meets bi-annually, annual stakeholder briefing session annual conference We also provide regular monthly information updates to our stakeholders.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to attend any of our stakeholder forums or receive our regular monthly information updates.

Sue Ellis Manager, 

Stakeholder Relations WorkCover - Ph: 8233 2341 Fax: 8233 2346 Mobile: 0417 864 195 Email: sellis@workcover.com

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Dear Sue,

Thank you for your email and your positive comments on the website.  

I had a look at the link that you provided and I'm not sure I understand how exactly Phil Moir has been inaccurate in his comments.  That's not to say that all his estimates are absolutely accurate, moreso that I can not easily identify where or how?  

Obviously my desire is that all information on this website is reliable.  People like Phil are more intimately versed with the complexity of WorkCover having dealt with the system for some time.  I am also rather passionate about ensuring people like him have a voice to air their concerns.  However - never at the expense of the  integrity of VOID will I support anything that lacks any substance.  

Sue, I followed the 'link' that you provided and I read the article with interest.  While I do not disagree with spirit of getting injured workers back into the workforce, the general gist of this media release appears to be that WorkCover considers the offering of redemptions (or payouts) as really defeating the purpose of the 'return to work' initiative.  The underlying message appears to be that the organisation either aims to or has already implemented a less than 'attractive' redemption payments system - which would effectively entice injured workers back into the workforce.

Would that be a fair analogy of this media release you sent Sue?

Perhaps, if I am missing the point, you could be more specific in where exactly Phil Moir's article is misleading?  Is it the accusation as a result of poor financial decisions some years ago that have forced a change in the way workers are compensated?  Is it the figures he has projected - and if so, which figures?  

You see, I always thought the spirit of a compensation scheme was to compensate.  If a worker sustained a crush injury to his hand - that may not reduce that worker to complete incapacity but losing the use of a hand would be in my opinion a reasonable argument for compensation ... and I do mean compensation in terms of a pay out.  The question is what is fair compensation for a permanent injury like this?  I have an inkling that the department and the worker do not agree - and how can they when they have completely opposing vested interests?  I am also aware that due to common law changes, irrespective of the employer's negligence, that worker has no recourse for compensation other than Through WorkCover. 

In that respect what Phil Moir outlines makes perfect sense as to why the scheme is weighed down with long term claims.

Perhaps you could do me a favour and look at this as a hypothetical claim because this is a question I have been deeply concerned about since my son's accident.

I realise the department has no obligation here but I suppose what I would like to do is put some theories to the test with regard to WorkCover's philosophy...

Let us assume that my son Daniel survived his accident.  Let's for arguments sake outline the following to be reasonably indicative of his injuries - minus of course the injuries that actually caused his death which was massive chest trauma.

Here we have an 18 year old 1st Year Apprentice on a wage of $6.00 per hour at the time of his accident.  Weekly his earning were $240.00 p/week.  He had no children...he was not married and he lived at home with me at the time - and given the extent of the injuries, that would perhaps have been the case for some time after his return from hospital..

Okay - and further, for the sake of the exercise - let's disregard the medical bills themselves because I'm certain they would be astronomical - but you are now presented with a worker with injuries as follows:

Both feet amputated - one arm deemed un-operable.  Include life long dialysis as well as other organ trauma which would have made him a long term candidate for a permanent disability.

Can you outline to me and the people who may follow this website ... how would someone like Daniel have been compensated by WorkCover?  What options would he have been given?  I'd like this all to be done as close as possible to the letter of the law and policy in dollars and cents.

To date - my interest is in understanding the logic behind this workers compensation system for people who deal with the death benefit claim process...but since you have made the effort to respond (and I very much appreciate and respect that) I am really keen to understand where the redemption process leaves seriously injured workers...because it is something I personally have pondered many, many times.  

I'm totally uninterested in promotional hype or being baffled with BS.  I am interested in straight forward, plain English answers that every day people can follow.  That is really the point of VOID ... to sift through the complex bureaucratic information and turn it into something we can all understand.

If after your clarification, I see the inaccuracies that you have suggested, I will happily remove Phil Moir's article or at the very least, have anything incorrect removed.

Fair enough?

Regards

Andrea Madeley