Dramatic CLP changes to workers’ compensation in the Northern Territory will favour insurance company profits over the injured worker, Shadow Minister for Business Gerry McCarthy said.
The changes, first flagged on the day TIO was sold to Allianz last November, are being debated in the legislative assembly today.
“The changes will see many Territory workers no longer under the workers’ compensation scheme because the definition of an employee has changed.” Mr McCarthy said.
“The CLP government’s new scheme will abandon Territory workers and won’t help promote safe workplace practices. It will promote more litigation with injured workers pitted against their employer in a true definition of a worker.
“The current scheme is a ‘no-fault’ scheme providing for the rehabilitation and compensation of injured workers and funded on this basis since 1987.
“The amendments now introduce a 5 year limit for payments and a 6 year limit for medical or other costs for injured workers.
“Only a handful of workers will meet the very high bar – over 15% of what’s termed ‘whole person impairment’ - to be able to continue receiving payments and support,” Mr McCarthy said.
“A childcare worker or nurse who’s severely injured their back and needs spinal fusion requiring multiple surgeries over many years, only gets to 14%.
“Under these amendments, their compensation payments end after five years, with no future medical costs paid a year later.
“A crane operator who suffers knee injuries and can’t climb a ladder or walk up any kind of mild gradient, still injured after 5 years, will be cut off.
“The CLP’s government’s new amendments ignore ongoing psychological or psychiatric effects of being injured, completely denying justice for the worker.
“We applaud the firefighters in their long campaign to have occupational cancers covered by workers’ compensation.
“Well done, you’ve finally got what you deserve.
“Territory Labor has given a commitment that, if elected, we will amend the Act that limits claims to firefighters contracting cancer within 10 years’ of their last shift.
Deputy Leader of the Opposition Gerry McCarthy says it’s impossible for Chief Minister Adam Giles to do justice to 13 portfolios and wonders why the Northern Territory is coming last in considerations.
Mr McCarthy has called on Adam Giles to sort out the chaos, appoint a Government MLA into the vacant Cabinet position and reshuffle portfolios for a realistic workload.
“Adam Giles has been woeful in his original six portfolios and it’s just ludicrous to suggest that he can take on an additional seven vacated by Dave Tollner," Mr McCarthy said.
“Critical portfolios such as Treasury, Business, Alcohol Policy and Local Government require a Minister with the capacity to give them the time and effort required.
“Based on a 40 hour week, and not taking into account his electorate work, this gives him 3.07 hours a week per portfolio.
“It’s just not possible to do the job properly dedicating so little time to each Ministry. Even if he was to work 56 hours a week he would still be short-changing critical portfolio areas," Mr McCarthy said.
He said no other Minister had more than five portfolios with some having as few as two.
“It’s the reason the Government is in paralysis. Adam Giles is spending so much time trying to quell the divisions in his Cabinet that to suggest he could handle 13 portfolios and a divided party is ridiculous. Government cannot be all about Adam."
Media contact: Michael Gleeson 0400 096 924
Shadow Minister for Resources, Gerry McCarthy, has called on Parks Minister and Member for Stuart, Bess Price, to come clean about her activities around the possible nomination of a nuclear waste dump site in her electorate of Stuart.
“It’s important that the Minister and local member is open and honest with the people of Stuart,” Mr McCarthy said.
“We’ve been receiving disturbing information that the Minister has been talking to traditional owners in her area about a possible nuclear waste dump and may even have flown over an area in the Rabbit Flat region.
“There are important questions that the people of Stuart deserve answers to.
“What role is she playing with traditional owners about the possible location of a nuclear dump site in Stuart?
“What promises are being made to traditional owners to encourage them to consider giving up their land to house a dump site?”
Mr McCarthy said traditional owners need clear, unbiased information about the ramifications of setting a nuclear waste dump, not political pressure and spin.
He said the Minister should also reveal whether the siting of a nuclear waste dump in Stuart was something that may potentially benefit her personally, as a traditional owner of lands in the electorate.
Mr McCarthy said the ALP’s position was clear, that any siting of a nuclear waste facility should be based on sound science and should involve a discussion with the whole country, not be based on secretive deals.
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Member for Barkly, Gerry McCarthy, today called on Chief Minister, Adam Giles, to come clean with Territorians about any discussions he has had about hosting a nuclear waste dump in the Territory.
“The Chief Minister, Adam Giles, has ducked a weaved the question of where he and the CLP Government stand on the Territory hosting Australia’s first nuclear waste dump,” Mr McCarthy said.
“What the Territory needs is transparency and honesty from the Chief Minister on this issue.
“What conversations has the Chief Minister had with his Federal colleagues about the Territory’s role in Australia’s nuclear waste management?
“The Federal Minister for Resources, Ian MacFarlane, is meeting with traditional owners of Muckaty Station in Tennant Creek on Thursday.
“Curiously, Mr MacFarlane, failed to meet with the Traditional owners during the prolonged campaign and Federal Court case against the nomination of Muckaty as the site of the proposed waste dump.”
Mr McCarthy said important lessons were learnt from the seven year battle of traditional owners and environmental groups who were opposed to Muckaty Station hosting the proposed nuclear waste facility.
“Australia needs to plan for proper safe and secure management of Australia’s nuclear waste,” Mr McCarthy said.
“The location of an appropriate facility need to be based on best practice science not a constitutional weakness or the shallow cash grab by the CLP Government.
“Territorians do not want a nuclear waste dump.
“The Chief Minister and the CLP Government need to ensure that they are standing up for the best interests of Territorians not letting financial opportunities override moral and ethical responsibilities.”