Re: ‘Green Army’ Edition 284, 6th March
The announcement that the new environmental workforce for 18-25 year olds – the “green army” – will not be covered by any workers compensation scheme is extremely worrying for people who care about the consequences of work place injuries.
Under usual work arrangements, employers are required to ensure their employees are protected by a workers compensation scheme and health and safety standards. We are very concerned that members of the “green army” will not be protected in the same way as other workers.
These young workers will undertake heavy manual labour including clearing local creeks and waterways, fencing and tree planting – work that carries a high level of physical risk.
If these young workers are injured and not covered by a workers compensation scheme which is focused on early intervention and returning employees to work, there is a risk that if they suffer a serious injury without help, they may not return to work.
If state and federal governments are serious about providing these young workers with a fair and reasonable opportunity to join the workforce, they should work together to provide them with the same workplace injury protection as other employees in Australia.
Slater & Gordon Senior Comcare Lawyer