FOUR CORNER delves into the issue of workers compensation

Workers compensation is supposed to be a safety net designed to return injured employees to the workplace and provide assistance to those so badly hurt that they can no longer hold down a job. 

Australian workers are guaranteed these protections by law, but there is disturbing evidence the system is failing badly.

“Immoral and unethical”: The financial scandal and human cost of Australia’s failing workers compensation schemes.

“The decisions that I’ve seen in our investigations are not only unjust and unreasonable and wrong, some of them are downright immoral and unethical.” 


On Monday, reporter Adele Ferguson reveals the scandalous state of workers compensation schemes in Australia, in a joint Four Corners, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald investigation.

“I’m one individual going up against an entire system. They’ve got billions of dollars behind them, they’ve got unlimited resources, and what do I have?” 

Injured worker

Billions of dollars are set aside for these compensation schemes, yet some injured workers say their lives have been ruined by insurers hell-bent on avoiding payouts.

“I’m trying to get better and I have to fight for treatment.  I’m not asking for a diamond ring or a new car. I’m asking for treatment.” 

Injured worker

Four Corners examines the insurance companies contracted to run Australia’s largest workers compensation schemes and the dubious methods they employ to assess claims.

“This is about people’s lives. This is about human suffering, and what you see are references to numbers and files and claims.” 


While workers often lose out, the compensation business is lucrative for those operating it.

“You can just imagine how many people and organisations are circling around that pool of money and trying to make a buck out of it.” 

MP and former workers compensation lawyer

This revealing investigation will expose who the winners and losers are in the workers compensation scandal.

“It’s not a safety net at all. I just can’t believe that it’s in this country. I can’t believe that it’s such a barbaric system.” 

Injured worker

It is replayed on Tuesday 28th July at 10.00am and Wednesday 29th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm AEST, ABC iView and at

Four Corners: Immoral and unethical, reported by Adele Ferguson – Monday 27th July at 8.30pm on ABC and iview


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