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Issue #1445      3 March 2010

Safer workplaces needed to fix WorkCover

Communist Party candidate for Lee in the SA elections, Bob Briton, has criticised the Liberals’ policy announcement of further cuts to South Australia’s WorkCover scheme. Liberal leader Isobel Redmond has announced that a Liberal government would carve up the body, adopt measures to assist employers to self-insure, open the door to private competitors for claims management and reduce the employer levy.

“Ms Redmond is right in saying WorkCover is failing the workers and taxpayers of SA but she can’t duck her share of the responsibility,” said Mr Briton. “The Liberals voted with the government to reduce workers’ entitlements under the scheme and have not sought to toughen occupational health and safety standards that could deal with the problems at their source. They have resisted moves for legislation to deal with industrial manslaughter and have in every way put the employers’ interests first.”

He said that the Liberals are strong backers of the Australian Building and Construction Commission which makes the job of unions to ensure safe workplaces in the dangerous construction industry extremely difficult. “They are also supporters of industry self-regulation and we have seen where this has led with the disastrous home insulation saga of late.

“If the Liberals think having private companies compete in a so-called ‘free market’ for workers’ compensation is in the community’s interests, could they explain why the privatisation of utilities like electricity has reduced services and led to higher charges?”

“We don’t need here today, gone tomorrow private operators in this essential area of income support for sick and injured workers. Get tough on unsafe workplaces, not the victims of substandard practices,” Mr Briton added.   

Next article –  Privatisation, greed, opportunism – Behind the insulation crash

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