Food parcels required by some injured workers in South Australia

An independent member of the South Australian Parliament, Ann Bressington, has revealed that some injured workers in South Australia are receiving food parcels because their income is so low that they are living on bread and instant soup.

In a media statement released on 2 March 2010 (not yet available online), Bressington said

Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson and I have both found ourselves in the position of having to provide food to injured workers because some were living on nothing more than dry bread and packet soups and unable to afford their medications.   It is a sad indictment of our government’s commitment to its constituents when sick, injured and vulnerable people are forced into this position….they have been thrown out in the cold and literally left to starve”. (link added)

The media statement was issued in support of the 10th WorkCover Public Forum scheduled for 4 March 2010 in the Way Hall, 10 Pitt St, Adelaide.

Bressington and McKenzie-Ferguson recently commented on WorkCover issues in SafetyAtWorkBlog.

Kevin Jones

8 thoughts on “Food parcels required by some injured workers in South Australia”

  1. I am an injured worker terminated from employment because my employer said there were no suitable duties. Bullied into a rockand a hard place. I was employed in a casual position but that fell through. I am a single mum. May payments for income maintainence were due on 2 days ago. I hope I get paid tomorrow. I am getting depressed

    I feel really sorry for families that have to endure all of the stress and uncertainty that accompanies a workplace injury.

  2. The Australian Greens have a strong policy on making WorkCover work for injured workers, not against them. We are organising a community forum on Sunday 14 March at 11.00 a.m. at the Semaphore foreshore to provide an opportunity for injured workers to meet prospective politicians, union officials, academics and community activists to let them know of your experiences and views on the problems with WorkCover and the need for reform.

    It would be great to see some of you there.

    As a person who has worked for 15 years training Health and Safety Representatives and other workers in the need for safe workplaces, effective rehabilitation and fair compensation in a system that needs to show respect and compassion for injured workers, I believe that there is an urgent need to take action over WorkCover. Only effective political and community action can force the necessary change.

    Please come along and participate. It would be great to see some of you there.

    Kevin Phelan
    Greens Election Campaign Committee for Lee

  3. Wow tonight I had dinner before 10pm, I managed to have 2 poached eggs, well I ate 1 and the puppy ate the other one. Today was the normal battle between injured workers and case managers trying to find common ground but as per normal finding ill-will and bad tempers and more frustrated confused people with no where to go and no place to hide.

    Tomorrow I will take on the same battles again because injured workers are worth fighting for.

    So many people tell me I can never change the way the WorkCover system is, that the culture is imbedded too deeply into the managment styles of the Corporation and the claims agent.
    I listen with respect because that is what is required.
    My belief is though that with every injured worker I come in contact with, with every case manager I stand before with every decision made to put right all that is wrong, I have to believe I am already not just making a difference, but I am forcing WorkCover to come to the table to work with me.

    I admit I am exhausted, I admit at times I am so tired I can hardly stand, but whilst there is one injured worker who needs me to be in place, I will always find the energy to stand between the injured worker and the case manager to ensure that the rights of the injured worker is protected and upheld.

  4. I left home yesterday morning at 5.30am, I finally got back home and had some dinner at 10.30pm. The day was spent putting in place a range of support for injured workers that they normally have no access to.

    The Parliamentary Inquiry into WorkCover recommended that the Corporation establish a more open and consultative management style with injured workers and interested stakeholders such as Work Injured Resource Connection. That Inquiry was released on the 9th February, here it is the 3rd March and still no one from the WorkCover Corporation has bothered to call me to see just what it is that can be started.

    I am hopeful that the only reason that such a phone call has not been made is that the Corporation is waiting until after the State Election to see just who will be the Minister.
    In the mean time I just keep moving towards putting things right for injured workers and their families.

    Life on WorkCover should never be so difficult that injured workers are fearful of what the system can and does do under the guise of policy without ever giving the injured worker a copy of the policy document.

  5. Well said Jeff.
    It would apear that the no: 1 objective for EML is to reduce there bottom line .

    It would also apear to be the case that EML are happy to manipulate the rules in there favour, to assist them in reaching there no: 1 objective .

    The goverment need to ensure we have a better system for the people of S/A its time sombody with a pair sorted this mess out
    Its way overdue .Im on the workcover system and I can tell you that is is the like being thrown on a doll cue with no light to be seen , Its just so unfair to be considered less important than cutting costs ? I thought the we had a workcover system to make the lifes of S/A people less painful when recovering , the way is set up at the moment from my point of view , Makes it all the more harder , and then to have some kid out of school to manage your claim M what about a person who has a clue about what Im going threw ???
    why we dont have people like Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson appointed
    beats me ???

    1. Paul
      US academic Peter Sandman once advised me not to be too critical of corporations who do the jobs they were created for – returning value to their shareholders. To some extent EML is acting like any other company that is allowed to have a monopoly.

      From what I have read, South Australia is preparing to open up it workers\’ compensation insurance to competition. This is a good move and, just as the Federal Treasurer recommends for disgruntles bank customers, will allow workers and companies to choose a workers compensation provider who meets their criteria.

      It is also the case that the Federal Government is planning to harmonise Australia\’s workers\’ compensation system so the actions and behaviours of an insurer in one State has a national impact.

      I think it is important to remember that at the moment workers compensation providers are insurers and not social security. Sometimes we expect too much from the insurers. However, we can never expect too much from the governments and politicians who set the parameters in which the insurers operate.

      I like elections because, more often than not, they mean change. It may not be change in the way I like but change is usually a progressive act. Good governments allow for participation in decision making and this is the opportunity that worker advocates like Rosemary McKenzie-Ferguson are presented with.

      I am not sure how the SA election will go and I am not sure that workers will be any better off with either party in power. But after 20 years in occupational health and safety, worker safety and welfare is no sprint. We can only hope that at the end of our efforts, and many the end of our lives, the world is better for our presence and our efforts. We must have hope.

  6. Does nobody understand?
    The government and WorkCover like workers in that position so they can be manipulated to take lower redemptions and to accept any offer given to them.
    THe systme is not fair and is intended to give WorkCover the power in negotiating, any person who is at arms length to the system can surely see the new legislation was intended to do just that also.
    Stopping their income, whilst spending vast amounts of money litigating against them. Its a David v Goliath tactic..and obviously that is what the government intended when it allowed injured workers income maintenance to be stopped whilst there are disputes.
    One might wonder if at least some of the employees of WorkCover have sought other employment not wanting to be a part of this draconian system.

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