Workcover QLD wind back unfair common law threshold

workcover-qld-2015

Here is some great news for injured workers from QLD -the grossly unfair common law threshold have recently been wound back and finalised! The new Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 was passed by Parliament on 17 September 2015 and assented yesterday (24 Sept 2015)!

Thanks God for a very strong and caring Queensland Premier -Annastacia Palaszczuk – for her fight and courage in finalising the wind-back of the grossly unfair common law “threshold” introduced in 2013 that obstructed the rights of hundreds of QLD workers injured as a result of workplace negligence.

Changes to the WorkCover QLD scheme, introduced in October 2013 by the LNP government imposed a 5% threshold on all common law claims, which effectively shut out a significant amount of claims by workers injured by their employers’ unsafe work practices. The threshold was largely critisised for having no economic justification to warrant such harsh reform.

The reversal legislation received the Governor’s assent recently on 24 September 2015, making it current Qld law.

The new law applies to carelessly or negligently caused workplace injuries from 31 January 2015, the date of the Palaszczuk election victory.

What’s even better, the new law also reverses the LNP provision that previously allowed prospective employers to access a person’s workcover claims history.

The new law also provides for greater benefits for firefighters.

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 was passed by Parliament on 17 September 2015. The Bill implements the Queensland Government’s election commitments for Restoring the Rights of Queenslanders Injured at Work. The amendments will take effect once the Bill receives assent. It assented on 24 September 2015.

The Bill achieves the Government’s commitments for workers’ compensation matters by amending the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 to:

  • remove the current limitation on the entitlement to seek damages that requires a worker to have a degree of permanent impairment greater than 5% to access common law for all injuries sustained on or after the Queensland State election (31 January 2015)
  • establish the ability to provide additional compensation to particular workers impacted by the operation of the common law threshold, between 15 October 2013 and 31 January 2015
  • introduce provisions for firefighters diagnosed with one of 12 specified diseases that will deem their injury to be work related
  • remove the entitlement prospective employers have to obtain a copy of a prospective worker’s compensation claims history from the Workers’ Compensation Regulator and
  • clarify certain procedural aspects of the claims process and reduce regulatory burden through a number of minor miscellaneous amendments.

More information on the provisions of the Bill as passed can be found on the Queensland Parliament’s website. You can view the Bill here.

Read more about the new deemed disease provisions for firefighters.



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