PSA Media release
Prison Officers, Juvenile Justice workers, bushfire fighting and other Government employees involved in dangerous occupations deserve better workers compensation said the Public Service Association (PSA).
On day one of a Parliamentary Inquiry by the Law and Justice Committee of the NSW Legislative Council into the savage 2012 workers compensation reforms, the union believes that many other categories of emergency service employees should have been afforded the same exemptions to the 2012 changes as police.
“For some reason, it appears there are different classes of emergency workers when it comes to workers compensation,” said PSA General Secretary, Stewart Little.
“Prison Officers go to work each day in the most dangerous environment in the country. They stand between some of the state’s most notorious criminals and the community but are expected to do so without adequate protection for them and their families.”
“The same challenging circumstances apply to our members in Juvenile Justice. There are several young offenders in custody across the state with terrorism links including one at Cobham in western Sydney where only last week a staff member – in an unrelated incident – was assaulted in a totally unprovoked attack.”
The PSA has also concerns for those who work in areas such as National Parks, State Forests and Crown Lands.
Some years ago, several National Parks firefighters were killed and others seriously injured during a hazard reduction operation at Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.
“National Parks staff are front line fire fighters all over the state protecting lives, private property, forestry, homes, pastures, the lot. They stand shoulder to shoulder with Fire and Rescue and the Rural Fire Service.”
“You cannot tell me that someone who is dropped from a helicopter in the middle of nowhere in the bush with a can of petrol strapped to their back to do backburning isn’t worthy of being deemed a front line emergency worker for the purposes of workers compensation.” said Stewart Little.