By CLARE COLLEY
WORKERS in regional areas will be the ones hardest hit by changes to the WorkCover laws abolishing journey claims, Central West Union Alliance representatives say.
The group represents the interests of the region’s union members, but a spokesman says the new laws “mistreat” union and non-union members equally.
Cargo Road accident victim James Cantrill has been left with no income and no workers compensation since his August car accident with his family forced to pay for all ongoing medical expenses.
Public Service Association organiser Bernard Fitzsimon said people should be aware that member for Orange Andrew Gee voted in support of the law change.
The alliance will continue to keep campaigning to overturn the laws and hopes to change Mr Gee’s mind about the new laws and ask him to be an advocate for injured workers in the Orange electorate.
United Services Union organiser Joe Maric said regional workers were at greater risk of having an accident on the way to work.
“There are no kangaroos hopping out on to the road in north Sydney or Macquarie Street,” he said.
“One minute your going to work and the next minute your lying in hospital with injuries that will take a long time to get over.
“No person should have to endure that sort of treatment.”
Following protests and strikes, emergency services workers and coal miners were made exempt from the new laws, but Fire Brigade Employees Union country organiser Greg Mitchell said other professions such as nurses and teachers were still being stung.
He believes the changes are designed to force workers into taking out personal injury insurance.
Community service workers and employees of Cadia mine who travel to work in the risky early morning hours are just two groups locally that will miss out on journey claims.
Unions NSW campaign officer Paul Doughty said the laws were put in place to benefit insurance companies, ignoring the needs of workers and their right to fair compensation and work related travel.