Christine Cantrill is still looking for answers to why her son James is not covered for workers compensation, after he was injured in a car accident on his way to work.
Premier Barry O’Farrell failed to explain how the scheme applied to Mr Cantrill’s situation, during his visit to Orange yesterday.
Mr O’Farrell defended the government’s “responsible” WorkCover changes, which included scrapping all workers compensation for journeys to-and-from work, except in situations where there was “a real and substantial connection between the employment and the accident.”
He said workers would get greater benefits from the new scheme, but the cuts were needed to claw back more than $4 billion worth of debt WorkCover had accumulated.
“Under the changes we’ve made, people are assisted to return to work as quickly as possible and, whilst we are seeking details on [Mr Cantrill’s] case, we need to know whether this falls under the motor accident insurance scheme or the WorkCover scheme,” he said.
“Understand that under the WorkCover scheme changes introduced, people who are catastrophically injured get a benefit that is 70 per cent greater than it was previously.”
Mr O’Farrell said the deficit had threatened payments to anyone injured in any capacity across the state.
“If people are injured on their way to work being involved in an activity that relates to their employment they are covered,” he said.
“But the scheme has been brought into line with other states, otherwise it would continue to be financially unsustainable and offer no support for anyone in the decades ahead.”
Mrs Cantrill’s attempts to speak to the premier during his visit to Orange were unsuccessful, but she said she would continue to pursue the matter.
“I don’t want to cause any grief, I just want to ask him a question,” she said.
“It’s not just for me, it’s for everybody.”
Mrs Cantrill said Mr O’Farrell had not defined what the new “real and substantial connection” clause meant.
“I don’t understand what the difference is,” she said.
“[James] was only on that road at 5:30 in the morning because he was going to work.”
She said she would like to meet with member for Orange Andrew Gee to ask for his help in the matter.
Mr Gee said he would be happy to meet with her, after Finance and Services Minister Greg Pearce provided further details as previously promised by Mr O’Farrell.