The NSW Government has endorsed reforms that simplify the dispute resolution system for injured road users and workers who make a compensation claim.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello announced the changes today as part of the Government’s response to the NSW Parliament Law and Justice Committee’s 2018 review of the workers compensation scheme and 2018 review of the Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme.
A key proposal supported by the Government is the establishment of a single personal injury commission to hear workers compensation and CTP disputes and provide greater alignment of dispute resolution processes across schemes, including in provision of ombudsman and legal aid services.
“Every year in NSW there are over 100,000 people who make a workers compensation or CTP motor accident claim. In establishing a consolidated Personal Injury Commission, we want to reduce complexity and potential ‘process trauma’ for those seeking to dispute an insurer’s decision,” Mr Dominello said.
“We acknowledge that the current dispute resolution process can be improved and we want to provide the best possible experience for those injured in the workplace or on our roads, in order to support their rehabilitation and recovery.
“We will consult with scheme providers and stakeholders on a model which best achieves this objective.”
The Committee received 21 submissions to the 2018 review and conducted public hearings on 24 and 25 July 2018 and 2 October 2018. Among other things the Committee’s final report recommends:
· Workers compensation and CTP dispute resolution systems be consolidated into a single commission by expanding the jurisdiction of the Workers Compensation Commission but retaining two streams of expertise;
· The commission be independent and judicial, have statutorily appointed presiding officers, provide a judicial appeal mechanism, publish its decisions, and allow claimants to access legal representation; and
· The State Insurance Regulatory Authority, in consultation with the legal profession and insurers, develop comprehensive criteria to measure insurer performance in the CTP insurance scheme and publicly report this comparative data, on an annual basis.