Statement on the Return to Work (Permanent Impairment Assessment) Amendment Bill

3 June 2022

The Law Society is concerned that the Government has introduced a Bill into Parliament that would have significant implications for injured workers, before engaging in consultation on the Bill.

The Society has not had an opportunity to consider the full implications of the Bill as it did not receive a copy of the Bill prior to its introduction in Parliament.  The Bill will have a fundamental impact on the eligibility of injured workers to receive compensation.

In the Society’s view, it is critical that significant pieces of legislation such as this are subject to robust consultation, so that there can be a proper analysis on likely ramifications, an examination of the merits of various provisions, consideration of the effect of the proposed changes on the injured whose claims are presently underway, identification of any measures which may have unintended consequences or undermine important legal principles, and the need to ensure our workers compensation scheme adequately compensates injured workers.

Media reports suggest that the intention of the Bill is to address a court determination that enables plaintiffs to receive compensation for a subsequent injury that resulted from the original work injury. Introducing legislation to mitigate the effect of this judgment would have a significant impact on a number of injured workers, and therefore should be subject to proper scrutiny before being introduced to Parliament.