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O'Farrell expects 'vigorous debate' for workers' compo
19/06/2012 - NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell says he expects vigorous debate on the government's WorkCover legislation when it is introduced into parliament this week.
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O'Farrell said changes to WorkCover would be tabled in parliament on Tuesday, after cabinet considers the recommendations of an inquiry into the overblown workers compensation scheme.
A parliamentary committee last week recommended cutting payouts to injured workers after 13 weeks, rather than the current system of full payments for 26 weeks, to rein in a more than $4 billion WorkCover deficit.
It proposed abolishing payouts for workers injured on the way to and from work, except for police.
The committee also called for medical expenses to be capped and claims for nervous shock to relatives of people injured or killed on the job to be scrapped.
O'Farrell - who has said premiums will rise by 28 per cent unless there are changes - again warned MPs they will not be allowed to break for the parliamentary winter recess at the end of the week until the WorkCover changes are in place.
"I expect there to be vigorous debate in both houses on this legislation," O'Farrell told reporters in Sydney on Monday.
"People obviously feel passionate about it. We feel passionate about ensuring that there will be a sustainable WorkCover scheme into the future to guarantee protection for workers who may be injured in the workplace.
"This legislation is too important, the deficit at WorkCover is growing too rapidly for the matter to be delayed until the next session of parliament."
Police Minister Mike Gallacher has already announced police officers will be exempt from any changes to WorkCover, after they experienced drastic changes to their own death and disability scheme last year.
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