Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2007

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2007 was introduced into parliament on 16 October 2007 by Hon. RJ Mickel, Minister for Transport, Trade, Employment and Industrial Relations. This bill has bipartisan support and the main provisions will likely come into force on 1 January 2008.  

Some of the significant amendments to the WCRA 2003 include:-
 
  1. Amendment of s134 to reduce the decision timeframes for all statutory claims to 20 business days. This will require more strategic investigation and co-operation with key medical experts;
  2. Amendment of ss150-152, 157, 159, 160 & 174 to alter the step-down periods and percentages in weekly compensation payments to workers if the worker can demonstrate that the injury may result in a WRI of more than 15%.
  3. Insertion of Division 1A into Chapter 3, Part 10 where s178A would allow advances on lump sum payments in cases of financial hardship. Importantly, this would not mean a worker has made the election to seek damages. This brings the WCRA into line with the MAIA.
  4. Amendment of s192 to increase additional lump sum payments to $218,400 and to reduce the WRI threshold from 50% to 30%.
  5. Amendment of s194 to remove the application of Chapter3, Part 11 to a worker who has died because of a latent onset injury that is a terminal condition, having received a lump sum payment for the latent onset injury. Section 203, which provides for reduction of benefits upon a worker’s death, will be repealed.
  6. Insertion of Chapter 3A, replacing Chapter 3, Part 13 would continue to allow an insurer to recover reasonable costs incurred for obtaining reports in relation to a claim in which an injury to a worker has created a legal liability in the person to pay damages independent of the Act. “Worker” defined for Chapter.
  7. Insertion of s235A to provide that the date of an over period of time injury (other than a latent onset injury) will be the date on which the injured worker first consulted with a doctor. This will not limit the period of limitation under the Limitations of Actions Act 1974 preserved by s236.
  8. Section 245 relating to a claim for more than one injury from a single event will be amended to state that neither the claimant, nor the insurer can have an additional injury assessed for damages.  This amendment does not preclude additional injuries being considered in the course of a claim for damages. Section 246 will be repealed.
  9. Section 272 will be moved to Chapter 3A and renamed s207B.  This means that the right of recovery of compensation and damages is extended to third Parties.

Posted: Fri, 11 May 2007 09:05:24 +1000 By: Amanda
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