Minister for Finance, Services and Property Dominic Perrottet today launched Back on Track, a world-first mentoring program delivered by icare – the NSW Government’s workers-compensation insurance and care provider – in partnership with the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).
The pilot will partner four Australian Paralympic athletes with five seriously injured young people (selected from icare’s various care and support schemes) in a seven-month mentoring program that seeks to assist mentees on the recovery journey.
Mr Perrottet said, “When this Government reformed workers compensation in NSW last year, we committed to delivering a scheme that focuses on the person, not the process. This pilot is a great example of how we are delivering on that commitment with innovative new programs to deliver better care to our injured workers.”
“Paralympic athletes have told us from experience just how important mentoring is in the recovery process. To have living heroes mentoring our seriously injured young people is something I am sure will make a real difference to their lives and their recovery,” he said.
One of the program’s mentors, Paralympic wheelchair-rugby gold medallist Cameron Carr, said, “I look back and remember those that helped me through the hard times and now I’m grateful for the opportunity to do the same for these young Australians.”
APC CEO Lynne Anderson said the program offered a rare opportunity for some of Australia’s Paralympians to share their journey and learnings from accident to recovery.
“Our Paralympians dedicate themselves to becoming the best in the world in their sporting disciplines. We’re thrilled that the program will give mentees the rare opportunity to be supported by athletes similarly affected by serious accidents,” Ms Anderson said.
icare CEO Vivek Bhatia said the need for recovery programs like Back on Track is stark, with 19,000 young people injured on our roads and in our workplaces every year.
“This program has huge potential, particularly for injured people in regional and rural areas who often have limited opportunities and support networks. That’s one of the reasons the pilot involves mentees from Wyong, Newcastle, Glen Alpine, Hinchinbrook and as far as Wee Waa,” he said.
icare will closely monitor the pilot’s outcomes and will evaluate opportunities to expand the program more broadly, with $1 million in icare funding allocated over four years for both the pilot and any expanded program.
For more information, visit http://www.icare.nsw.gov.au/backontrack