We recently reported that the second five yearly review of the Queensland Workers' Compensation Scheme was nearing completion and that a Bill to introduce some of the review's recommendations was expected.
On 22 August 2019, the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced into parliament. The Bill has been referred to a parliamentary committee.
The key proposed changes are:
- The qualifier in respect of psychiatric injuries that employment be the 'major' significant contributing factor to the injury will be removed.
- The circumstances by which an insurer may waive the six-month time limit for applying for compensation has been expanded to include claims made 20 business days after a worker is first assessed by a doctor, nurse practitioner or dentist.
- The insurer's responsibility to provide rehabilitation and return to work assistance now includes a responsibility to provide these services after the worker's entitlement to compensation has ceased if they have not returned to work.
- Insurers to have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to support workers in relation to psychiatric injuries, including by providing mediation services or counselling services before an application for compensation is determined.
- Expressions of regret and apologies are to be made non-admissible in civil proceedings.
The changes do not address all of the recommendations from the five-year review, such as the proposal to extend coverage to the 'gig' economy and taxi/limousine industries, which we understand are being considered further.
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