Injured Workers Day 2022
Injured Workers Day 2022
1 June marks Injured Workers Day, a day for injured workers to speak out about their experiences and campaign for reform.
7 members of the Injured Workers Support Network (Lisa, Niranga, Warren, Graeme, Desmond, Paul, myself as well as Dom and Reece from the OHS Team) met with the Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Safety, the Hon Bronwyn Halfpenny MP to address our concerns collectively. Great work to all the people who shared your stories. You do matter, always remember that.
We shared individual instances of trauma caused by the system and Agents as well as feedback on the current failures of the system and reflections on whether the Rozen Review addressed enough of our concerns. We all agreed the issue of bullying and cherry-picking IMEs and secondary mental health was still occurring, with most Agents and some IMEs even coming up with baseless reasons for denying claims, that eventually had to get reinstated for some of our group.
After these discussions, the Parliamentary Secretary was very interested in seeking our input on the Code of Conduct to address Injured Workers Rights, so we are going to look to develop some ideas to present to the Implementation Committee as part of the process of taking ownership of changing the system for the better.
Part of this reform involves over 1000 long term, complex clients being moved to have their claims management directly run by WorkSafe with no Agent involvement. This should be completed before November 2022.
Image: Members of the Injured Workers Support Network meeting with Bronwyn Halfpenny MP (left).
Today’s meeting, although emotional, was constructive and hopefully an opening to better communication between the Department and Injured Workers and our Network. Let’s hope the timelines can be determined more specifically in the very near future, given the report from Mr Rozen was released a year after submission to the government, with some have already passed without being met.
We will keep you advised of any further updates as soon as they become available. It will take some time to transition to these changes, but the government is now more aware than ever of how crucial it is now and that peoples Iives are at stake.
After a great lunch we then listened to many groups and speakers including one consultant who was involved in the establishment of WorkSafe, who agreed with us that there is no role for authorised agents in the workers’ compensation system. Representatives from the Centre for U, IncoLink, Nurses and Midwifery Health Program, Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, Victorian Trades Hall Council, Union Assist, HACSU and other Unionists shared solidarity with us in reacting to “The Invisible Illness”. Mental Health prevention was a large focus of the day. Wil also discussed how sexual assault and harassment in the workplace are now considered workplace injuries.
The Hon Dustin Halse MP was the MC for the event and did a great job.
We thank everyone for their incredible support today. We hope to see Injured Workers Day gain even greater support each year for our fellow workers.
Published 02 June 2022.
About the Author
Jennifer Bearham is a member of the Injured Workers Support Network. She was injured in February 2010 after experiencing a back injury at work. She joined the IWSN Vic in 2019 after finding them on Facebook. Since then she's been instrumental in building and leading the IWSN Local Group in Ballarat.