Coal miners exempt from compensation increases

NSW coal miners have missed out in an increase to the compensation scheme for the families of workers who are killed on the job.

Newcastle Herald reported that on Thursday night state parliament rolled back reforms to workers compensation schemes, put in place in 2012.

The amendments will result in an increase in the lump sum paid out to the families of deceased workers, from $524,000 to $750,000.

However, given that coal miners were excluded from the 2012 reforms, they have also missed out on this benefit increase.

Greens MP David Shoebridge raised concerns that the process of passing the amendment had been rushed, and that coal miners were left out of the new legislation, stating that their death benefits had been frozen in 2000.

Opposition leader Adam Searle said coal miners, police, paramedics and firefighters had been exempted from many of the benefit reductions to the compensation scheme in the mid to late 90s due to the dangerous nature of the work and self-insurance schemes designed to prevent impact on the wider workers compensation scheme.

Nationals MP Niall Blair said coal miners had been exempt from workers compensation amendments since 2001 and would not be affected by the bill.

CMFEU mining district president Peter Jordan said the union was in negotiations with industry insurer Coal Mines Insurance to arrange a corresponding increase to their death benefit payments.

"Appropriate discussions have been occurring…such that we expect that coalminers won't be disadvantaged," he said.

"I'm reasonably confident that we should achieve the same outcome."

Further debate on the Workers Compensation Amendment Bill will commence on 25 August.

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