Well, what else am I, or any other injured worker meant to think when it’s taken a second investigation from the Victorian Ombudsman (VO) to expose the Victorian workers’ compensation system?
The VO has never had to repeat an investigation. EVER!
But what does this second report mean for injured workers?
After thinking about this (endlessly) for a few days, I truly believe the report only proves the system is untouchable and the report will bear no weight.
It’s a little extra disheartening because I’m a case study within the report! Who wants to experience something traumatic and find that it all amounted to.. nothing – no change!!?
I read and heard the VO stating her recommendations but given nothing much changed for complex cases since the last report, I’m left to think the second report won’t change much either.
I’m also left wondering why I seem to be invisible. Why, when so many details have been exposed, is no one offering to return my compensation (and yours!).
The Governing body, WorkSafe Victoria show no interest and/or no capability for understanding injured workers with complex cases (nor do they want to, nor are they required!).
These Governing giants show no comprehension for what it means to be an injured worker and be required to navigate this appalling system.
There’s no need to let you all know which case study I am. Let’s face it, most injured workers will relate to many of the case studies as I do.
The tactics insurers use to intimidate injured workers so that they avoid liability (hooray for WorkSafe!) and in order to fund their bonuses are not unique. And I’m not about to name my agent as naming them makes no difference – they’re all unethical!
In a conversation with a lawyer this week, I heard about a NSW case where a policewoman was able to take legal action against the Agent. She was able to do this because ‘Under New South Wales workers’ compensation laws, failure to decide on a claim within two months is a criminal offence’.
Two months!! And that line actually exists as binding law!
That means a kind of protection for injured workers exists. Here in Victoria we seem to have nothing like that available to us and instead Vic agents have full reign to do as they wish.
Two reports by the VO stand to prove this now.
Blood is Boiling
This treatment from the system toward injured workers is unjust and unethical!
There wouldn’t be one person reading through the VO reports who wouldn’t feel appalled.
Actually… I’m rethinking that.
It’s likely there are two groups of people with three responses.
- Injured workers and honest healthcare professionals are in:
- disbelief and
- appalled at what injured workers have had to endure and no doubt will continue to endure!
- Employees associated with the system would be rolling their eyes thinking about the paperwork adjustments they are now required to make in order to avoid being included in the third VO report.
No one within the system has fear of prosecution – not even a fear of a single penalty!
No one within the system has been or will be called to explain their actions and held to account.
This makes my blood boil!
I haven’t even heard the support will be returned to workers who were delivered unfair decisions and had to walk away from their support.
But I want my money back!
Where are my years of wages after having a decision at the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service (ACCS) overturned by the Agent?
And the rest…?
How can it be that the ACCS, WorkSafe, the Agent, WorkCover Assist and myself and Theo all witnessed this and now there are also two reports exposing this poor treatment, yet, no entitlements are returned?
How can an Australian worker who pays all the insurance required, come to a point where they have to use their home as equity to rebuild a new life? And, in doing so, manage that alone – no help!
How is there no way to even ask for the return of these funds?
IT’S MY MONEY
I’m so furious. I turned to social media to see what the Hon Jill Hennessy (WorkCover Minister) had to say about this. I didn’t find anything – actually I found a lot of praise for WorkSafe. Please!!!!
So I tweeted:
Would be nice to see a tweet from @jillhennessyMP – all I can see is posts of praise for @WorkSafe_Vic. Everyone going on their merry way, meanwhile, 4,225 cases are left to suck up poor treatment by this system… atrocious!
I got a reply… actually it was a retweet – a link to the Statement On The Ombudsman’s Report. (What did I expect?!)
In reading the statement, I was enlightened with one of Hon Jill Hennessy’s responses to the VO’s recommendations. So I replied quoting Hon Hennessy:
‘I have also convened an independent Monitoring and Oversight Committee with representation from unions, employer groups and medical professionals to provide the Government with direct and unfiltered advice…’. Injured workers could also form part of this group.
But the lights were out way before my tweet was even posted.
As stated by Conciliation Officer F in the current report (point 414) injured workers are: ‘the only person in the room not paid to be there, everyone else is a paid professional…’.
Hon Hennessy and her WorkSafe buddies (and their buddies) don’t have a care in the world. They don’t need to have a care.
Not good enough.
So I emailed the Minister. I’ll be posting my letter here as soon as I receive my reply.
I’m certain I will receive a reply and you know why I’m sure? Because our Government makes it super easy for a Minister and any WorkSafe employee to write an empty letter to an injured worker.
There’s no need for them to say much really, is there?
Look out! It’s really tough reading and listening to all of this…