Injured workers hurt by reforms

THE effects of the state government's reforms to workers' compensation has reached Port Stephens with one man only recently made aware of the changes that apply to him a year later.

On June 19, 2012, the state government made major changes to workers' compensation entitlements that saw cuts on weekly benefits, limits placed on medical payments and eliminated access to lump sum payments for pain and suffering.

A report published last month by Unions NSW, Workers Compensation Cuts: One Year On, said the changes "significantly cut the rights and entitlements of injured workers".

"Twelve months after the introduction of these changes, injured workers and their families have felt the impact," the report said.

"For many this [change] has caused severe economic hardship, pressure on family life, and feelings of despair and fear."

Corlette resident Glenn Crammond, 70, is one person to have been affected by the reforms.

He is now faced with a $6000 bill for new hearing aids he was previously entitled to under his workplace injury claim, which was settled in 1997.

"I was really shocked," Mr Crammond said.

"All of a sudden I couldn't get hearing aids."

The aircraft engineer developed tinnitus, a constant and incurable high-pitched ringing in his ears, as a result of working for a long period of time with high-powered aircraft in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Through his settlement he was awarded hearing aids which, along with their maintenance, Mr Crammond could have replaced every four years.

In 16 years he has only done so once, in 2008, with his second pair now seeing him having to pay $6000 if the insurance company does not honour his 1997 settlement.

Mr Crammond said the "law as it stands" now is "unconstitutional".

"I see my settlement as a contract," he said.

"If the government said a new law will wipe your contract . . . it's just not on."

SHOCKED: Corlette's Glenn Crammond has been caught out by changes to his workplace injury claim.

SHOCKED: Corlette's Glenn Crammond has been caught out by changes to his workplace injury claim.