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UNIONS NSW UPDATE: NSW Government set to repeal S.19B of Workers Compensation Act

Feb 10, 2022News

The NSW Upper House inquiry into the Workers Compensation Amendment Bill 2021 will complete their report on Monday 21 February. We expect the NSW Government to bring the bill on to vote that week.

If passed, the bill will abolish a key protection for workers who contract COVID-19. It will shift the burden of proof for a COVID-19 workers compensation claim from insurers onto workers.

This presumption is one of the few protections afforded to NSW workers during the pandemic. The next two weeks are the critical period which may determine whether workers keep these protections.

Unions NSW is coordinating a sustained political pressure campaign on undecided MPs and the State Government to drop this bill.

1. Timeline of the Bill

Based on current settings and information:

Monday 21st February: The Upper House Inquiry Report will be finalised and released.

Tuesday 22nd February:

  • 2:30pm-4:00pm: The report is tabled in the NSW Upper House.
  • Once the report is tabled, the Government can move towards debate on the bill – this could happen as early 3pm.
  • We will have a clearer idea of the timeline on the bill once the draft legislative program is released next week.

Tuesday 22nd – Thursday 24th: The Government is likely to bring the bill on for debate and a vote. If they do not complete the bill by Thursday 24th they will not have another chance until the Upper House resumes sitting in late March.

2. Supporters Campaign Briefings – Wednesday 16 February

To mobilise our members, activists and supporters, Unions NSW is hosting two online supporters campaign briefings to be held:

Both briefings will feature:

  • An “insiders” briefing from Tara Moriarty MLC, Chair of the Upper House Inquiry;
  • The story of workers currently covered by the presumption who will lose this protection under the Government’s plan; and
  • A call to action to supporters with specific tactics they can take before the bill is debated in the NSW Upper House.

The RSVP links are for members and campaign supporters.

In addition, we have prepared an online folder with template invite emails and graphics for your use (this folder will be updated regularly over the next two weeks).

The folder can be accessed here.

3. Email the NSW Upper House tool

Late last year 100,000 emails were sent to members of the NSW Parliament. We must build on this pressure in the next two weeks.

We have updated the Email Your MP tool to target the NSW Upper House and updated the language used.

This tool can be accessed here: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-nsw-government-attack-on-covid-19-workers-compensation

We are asking affiliates to distribute this campaign tool to their members. As the tool has been updated it is ok for members who have used it previously to use it again.

Next week we will distribute an online tool to assist union members in calling members of the NSW Upper House.

For further information:

For further information or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my or members of our Campaigns and Communications teams:

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