Nothing seems to have changed! Following the announcement that the Victorian Ombudsman will conduct another review in the the VIC Workcover system, comes the recent announcement from The NSW Business Chamber calling on the NSW Treasurer to commission an urgent review of the NSW Workers Compensation system.
Last week, NSW launched an inquiry into the possibility and feasability of a consolidated personal injury tribunal to resolve workcover disputes as well as CTP disputes. This was recommended by last year’s massive review of the NSW workers compensation system.
Last year (March 2017) an upper house inquiry into NSW Workers Compensation released its report recommending a range of reforms. But at the end of our readings we see that nothing has really changed, or has there?
The Law and Justice Committee report found that the dispute resolution processes – called “dysfunctional” by stakeholders – were “inefficient, caused delays, and resulted in inconsistent decision-making and a system that is difficult for scheme participants to navigate”.
The review made 26 recommendations to make claims simpler for injured workers and for the NSW government to establish a ‘one stop shop’ forum for the resolution of all workers compensation disputes.
Other recommendations clamp down on aggressive covert surveillance by insurers, stop insurers “doctor-shopping” to deny claims and require case managers to have mandatory minimum qualifications and training.
The review also recommends the removal of the distinction between ‘work capacity’ and ‘liability’.
ccording to its chief executive, getting rid of adversarial relationships that undermine an injured worker’s ability to return to work from the workcover system remains a “big challenge” for the NSW workers’ comp regulator.
The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) is focusing on influencing behaviour and culture in the workers’ comp “ecosystem” instead of on compliance and legislation alone, with the latter being “necessary but not sufficient” to achieve more desirable results, according to Carmel Donnelly.
Speaking at the recent 19th annual National Workers’ Compensation Summit in Sydney , she says a “challenging and confronting fact” in injury management is that “people who access injury compensation schemes may in fact have worse outcomes than if they haven’t been entitled to compensation”.
In August 2015 the NSW Court of Appeal decided that NSW injured workers could not make more than one lump-sum insurance claim. In other words that injured workers could not top up their lump-sum compensation payment if their condition deteriorated. However, yesterday (Monday 26 Oct 15), the state government will make a new regulation to override that court decision in that case, known as Cram Fluid Power v Green.
We have lately been reading heaps of legal cases and recently came across a pretty disturbing one: The NSW Workers Compensation Commission (NSW WCC) ruled in a Jan 2015 case that it does NOT have the power to order a workcover insurer to(re) pay weekly payments to a seriously injured worker for a 2-year period even though the injured worker had a “no work capacity” status. WTF!?
The state government has announced that several workcover NSW law reforms will start next Friday, on 16 October.
Thousands of New South Wales workers could be stopped from accessing lump sum workers compensation payments they need for financial stability. A recent decision in the NSW Court of Appeal, in Cram Fluid Power V Green, means seriously injured workers can no longer top up their initial lump sum payments if their condition deteriorates.
Thousands of injured workers will benefit, but thousands more will miss out, from a modest workcover NSW reform package announced by the NSW government on August 4.
A billion-dollar workers compensation package has been announced in a winding back of some of the measures that stripped New South Wales’ workers of entitlements. Is this true or are we dreaming? Perhaps let’s wait for the fine print!