WCRA: Thresholds abolished from 31/01/15 & deemed fire fighters cancers

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 was introduced by the Hon C Pitt MP on 15/07/2015 and has been referred to the Finance and Administration Committee.
In the interim, I further refer you to:

The Bill, if passed, amends the controversial 5% or more DPI thresholds introduced under the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (Act No. 52 of 2013).

The Bill states the commencement in respect of the threshold amendments is to commence on 31/01/2015 (election date) and that the former legislation is to apply from on or after 15/10/2013. Of interest to practitioners for the intervening period from 15/10/2013 – 30/01/2015 is clause 33 (new s.193A), which states if the worker’s injury is for an injury of DPI 5% or less; and the worker does not have terminal condition; and the worker has not accepted the lump sum offer, then the worker will be entitled to an additional lump sum in compensation, which is to be prescribed by regulation and may be regulated by a panel for that purpose.

Also of interest to practitioners:

Appreciably, there are a number of technical provisions in relation to The Regulator, transitional periods, multiple injuries, limitation periods, assessments and appeals; together with a new dependency certificate (clause 5 & new s.132B), which will be addressed later.

Otherwise, for the first time in Queensland for fire fighters, there is the introduction of presumptive or deemed injuries relating to specified cancers based on periods of exposure to fires (150) in the course employment or as a volunteer (clauses 13 -22 & new dictionary definitions). It is a welcomed first step, but volunteer fire fighters still face significant hurdles under the proposed amendments.

David Cormack – Brisbane Barrister & Mediator

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