Compensation changes proposed under amended Bill

Friday 28 October 2016
Ursula McBride

The second reading of the Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 took place on 12 October 2016. Should the proposals outlined in this Bill become law, there will be some significant changes to the entitlements of those injured at work or in a transport accident including:

  • Increasing weekly payment entitlements for injured workers and those injured in transport accidents to the age of retirement as defined by the Commonwealth pension rules. This is to ensure that, when the changes to the pension qualifying age take effect next year, a gap will not open between the age at which an injured worker or those injured on the road cease to be entitled to weekly payments and the age at which they qualify for the aged pension.
  • Amending the Limitations of Actions Act 1958 to confirm Parliament’s intention that injured workers have a 6 year limitation period in which to bring an application for Common Law damages.
  • Establishing the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service (“the ACCS”) as a separate statutory authority with a Ministerially appointed Board. The intention of this change is to have a conciliation service that is an entirely separate entity to WorkSafe. This will take place sometime before October 2017 and the ACCS will continue to operate business as usual until then.
  • Seeking to safeguard the financial independence between the ACCS and Medical Panels from WorkSafe to ensure that any perception of undue interference is not placed on these services, particularly by WorkSafe who, through their Agent Insurers, participates in many disputes before these services.
  • The provision of assistance to grieving “immediate family members” following the death of loved ones in transport accidents. Families of a person killed in a transport accident may be eligible to receive up to $5000 in total for their travel and accommodation expenses, including travel to a funeral, burial or cremation in Australia in certain circumstances.
  • Adjusting the current method for assessing spinal injuries suffered by injured road users, applying to all future transport accidents, to create more uniform, clearer and fairer outcomes for those injured on the road.

These changes are intended streamline the provision of current benefits and to make the lives of people injured in work or transport accidents easier.

For further information about these proposed changes, you can contact us on (03) 9321 9988.

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