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Compo cave-in: State Govt faces demands from other emergency services


South Australian firefighters and ambulance crews are stepping up their fight for strengthened workers’ compensation support after the State Government caved to police union demands.

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A two-year cap on payments and a three-year cap on medical expense claims unless police are seriously injured have been effectively removed after the union argued this failed to protect injured officers adequately.

The state’s ambulance and firefighter unions will meet today to discuss their push for similar workers’ compensation exemptions.

Ambulance Employees Association general secretary Phil Palmer told ABC radio on Monday firefighters and ambulance crews also needed similar provisions.

“They are also constantly in harm’s way,” he said.

“They’re working in uncontrolled environments. The risk of traumatic injury, which ruins the rest of their career and inhibits their opportunity to work again, is still there.”

Police Minister Peter Malinauskas says the government will consider requests for similar consideration from other unions based on the merits of their arguments.

The Government’s new return to work scheme, which replaced the embattled WorkCover scheme in July, means that injured workers with a less than 30 per cent physical injury will have their workers’ compensation cut after two years.

After the deal with police, the Government can also expect increased pressure from other workers, such as nurses, to negotiate enterprise bargaining agreements to mitigate the effects of the Return to Work Act.

The Government’s deal with the police union doesn’t involve a change to the Act. Rather, the new conditions are provided through the Police enterprise agreement.

Under the deal, Police injured “in dangerous situations” will receive ongoing medical cover and income support if they are unable to return to work within two years of their injury.

– with AAP


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