Scale Of ACC Cuts Could Impact Injury Prevention, Says Lobby Group

Published: Thu 9 May 2024 05:06 PM
The scale of the announcement today by ACC that they will be shedding 390 jobs, including 29 from injury prevention has shocked and surprised the ACC Futures Coalition, who have expressed concern that it will impact on the quality of services the Corporation provides.
“We understood that the 6.5% savings ACC were expected to find would be manageable and mainly found from transitional staffing left over from the last major review of the Corporations administrative functions,” said ACC Futures Co-Convenor Hazel Armstrong. “But the loss of 29 roles from injury prevention is a real worry.”
The ACC Futures Coalition pointed out that ACC received 1.9 million registered claims a year and 152,000 of those claims are for injuries that are so severe they need to go on weekly compensation because they can’t work. There are nearly 20,000 people who are on weekly compensation for over a year.
“These people are severely injured,” said Hazel Armstrong. “The focus of ACC must be to reduce this terrible toll of injury. We have extremely high injury rate in certain sectors of the economy; construction, agriculture, forestry and manufacturing. Both WorkSafe and ACC together must invest in reducing injuries in these sectors which include many small and medium sized enterprises. ACC has been criticised for not investing enough in injury prevention and the cuts to 29 staff will severely impact our injury prevention efforts in New Zealand.”
While ACC and WorkSafe can rely on some of the large employers, having their own injury prevention staff, this is not true for small and medium enterprises who rely on the resourcing and advice from both WorkSafe and ACC.
“The injury prevention staff at ACC should be expanded not reduced,” said Hazel Armstrong. “Currently ACC pays out over $2 billion in weekly compensation and only $62 million was invested in injury prevention according to ACC’s annual report 2023.”
ACC Futures Coalition understands that these roles include specialist Māori injury prevention roles. Some regional injury prevention roles will also be lost.
“We also know that Māori have higher injury rates than non-Māori so the loss of specialist roles here is deeply disappointing,” said Ms. Armstrong. “ACC’s strategic plan sets out to incorporate Te Tiriti o Waitangi so we want to know just how disestablishing these roles aligns with that.”
“ACC Futures Coalition is meeting with ACC about injury prevention in the next week and will be seeking assurances about what these job losses mean for this vital work,” said Hazel Armstrong.
The ACC Futures Coalition will also be seeking further information from ACC about the other job losses and seeking assurances that they will not impact on claims management and processing.
“A few years ago ACC underwent an extensive review based on increasing automated handling of claims and this made it much harder to talk to the right ACC person about the claims. We know that ACC is aware of those issues but we will be seeking further assurances that these job losses will not impact negatively on claims management and processing,” said Hazel Armstrong.
ACC Futures Coalition is a grouping of ACC lawyers, community groups, health professional associations, ACC consumers, academics, advocates and unions committed to a publicly provided ACC scheme that aligns with the ‘Woodhouse Principles’ and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

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