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NSW government under fire for expensive police insurance policy

The New South Wales government has issued about $135,000 in total permanent disability funds to police officers around the state, however this is only a fraction of the $100,000 million policy the state took out.

Now, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, many members of the government are blasting those who authorised the premium, saying the state should lower the amount it pays on police workers compensation costs.

However, even though many claim the policies are providing too much of a benefit to the large insurance firms, government leaders continue to defend their decision to spend exorbitant amounts on premiums.

The NSW Auditor-General recently looked into the matter and found that the government spent $99.9 million last fiscal year, while total claims only amounted to $133,471. The scheme was originally a part of a major change to how the state spent police injury funds, replacing an older program that would have cost even more, the government argues.

The average income protection claim paid to injured police officers amounted to $19,607, down significantly from $480,000 in the previous system.

A 'failure' to protect

David Shoebridge, a Greens MP, said the changes likely benefit the government more than the officers they're meant to protect.

"These changes have left police officers exposed and, ultimately, failed to protect the rights of workers who risk their lives for the general public," he said.

"TAL must be laughing all the way to the bank at the sheer incompetence of the O'Farrell government."

John Robertson, leader of the opposition, said the program is merely "lining the pockets of insurance companies" while "saving money at the expense of injured and traumatised police".

However, despite this controversy, the state's Workcover program has worked tirelessly to help improve the safety of Australia's workplaces. For example, in the 2009-10 year, the group conducted 660 free advisory visits to workplaces, and gave $4.07 million to industry groups to fund education, training and development projects.

It spent another $375,000 on its Safety Solutions Program, which led to $1.24 million in safety improvements in workplaces around the country.

However, safety is never guaranteed. Those who have been injured on the job may want to contact a compensation lawyer to determine all legal options.

© 2013 
Gerard Malouf & Partners
 — Personal Injury Compensation Lawyers

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