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Previous legislative amendments

October 2010 amendments

On 6 October 2010, the Transport Accident and Accident Compensation Legislation Amendment Act 2010 (the 2010 Bill) was passed by Parliament.

This Act completes the implementation of the Government's policy response to the review of accident compensation legislation undertaken by Peter Hanks QC.

What are the changes?

While many of the changes are technical in nature, the changes to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 include:

  • When an injured worker makes a claim for compensation, greater accuracy and certainty in the calculation of pre-injury average weekly earnings (PIAWE) for the purposes of determining a worker's weekly payments
  • When an injured worker has returned to work, clarifying how overtime, shift allowances or any piece rate amounts or commissions are to be taken into account when determining the worker's current weekly earnings
  • Restructuring and streamlining the definitions of 'worker' and 'employer', and the provisions that determine whether a person will be deemed to be an employer or worker for the purposes of the WorkSafe scheme
  • Simplifying the provisions that determine when a contractor will be deemed to be a worker
  • Calculating impairment benefit claims for very seriously injured workers (those having a whole person impairment over 71%) at the date when the claim is determined rather than the date of the injury
  • Introducing a power to better manage common law legal costs.

The proposed amendments will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the WorkSafe scheme and provide greater certainty for both employers and workers.

When do the changes take effect?

While the majority of amendments were effective from 20 October 2010, changes related to PIAWE and contractor provisions were expected on 1 November 2010 and 1 July 2011 respectively.

A fact sheet about the changes to pre-injury average weekly earnings is also available for download, More information about Pre-Injury Average Weekly Earnings.

If you have any queries relating to the Act, please contact WorkSafe on (03) 9641 1444 or freecall 1800 136 089. 

Please contact your WorkSafe Agent if you have any questions about your individual circumstances.

Alternatively, you can email act_review@worksafe.vic.gov.au

Accident compensation changes to commence on 1 July 2010

A number of reforms to the Accident Compensation Act 1985 came into effect from 1 July 2010. These changes follow the first round of reforms which came into effect on 5 April 2010.

The changes affect both employers and workers and relate specifically to:

  • Return to work
  • Claims lodgement
  • Employer premiums
  • Self Insurance.

Return to work – employers

The 1 July 2010 changes require employers to meet five core return to work obligations.

  1. Provide pre-injury or suitable employment
  2. Plan a worker's return to work
  3. Consult about a worker's return to work
  4. Appoint a Return to Work Coordinator
  5. Make specific return to work information available

A new obligation has also been introduced for host employers to cooperate with labour hire employers to help injured workers get back to work.

A Municipal Councillor injured while carrying out duties as a councillor may now be able to claim workers compensation. WorkSafe has developed specific information regarding these new provisions.

Employers with existing claims as at 1 July 2010 will have a nine month transitional period where they can continue to comply with the previous return to work obligations. For all new claims from 1 July 2010, employers must comply with the new requirements.

Where to get help

Employers with existing claims are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the new return to work requirements, and if they need assistance to transition they should contact their Agent or the WorkSafe Advisory Service on (03) 9641-1444 or freecall 1800 136 089.

Return to work – workers

Injured workers also have responsibilities to support their return to work. These responsibilities aren't new, but the reforms are designed to bring them more sharply into focus. These obligations and further information about returning to work after injury are available in Returning to work – A guide for injured workers.

A number of changes to injured workers' entitlements came into effect on 5 April 2010. Learn more about these changes.

To help everyone comply with the new return to work requirements, WorkSafe has developed a range of practical guidance.

More information is available in the return to work section of this website.

Claims lodgement

An electronic lodgement facility will also be available to employers where they will be able to lodge their workers' claims for compensation directly to their Agents via the internet.

Premium

The key premium changes relate to the definitions of payroll used in calculating an employer's premium. These have been more closely aligned with the Victorian payroll tax system and the WorkCover Authority of New South Wales.

Employers are encouraged to visit the Online Employer Services System to check whether the changes will impact on their payroll which needs to be declared to WorkSafe. 

Changes to the law will also see employers have the right to request a review of an estimated claim cost where they consider it has been calculated based on incorrect data. To provide greater transparency in the setting of premiums, an independent expert body will conduct a review of premium setting every five years.

More information about premium changes is available on the premium section of this website.

Self-insurance

The key self-insurance related changes mean that WorkSafe now has the discretion to renew the approval of self-insurers for subsequent terms of six years, where they have driven improvements in safety, injury management and return to work.

Self-insurers are no longer required to provide a yearly report to WorkSafe of common law proceedings; however, they are required to notify WorkSafe of any strategically significant matters.

A self-insurer must now document its claims management policies and provide them to their workers and WorkSafe.

WorkSafe is able to extend the term of approval for a self-insurer that is undergoing a corporate restructure, such as when it acquires or sells a subsidiary company or is taken over by a holding company.

In addition, a self-insurer is able to manage the claims of a company that it acquires.

More information about self insurance changes are available in the self insurance section of this website.

March 2010 amendments

On 11 March 2010 the Accident Compensation Amendment Bill 2009, was passed by the Victorian Parliament.

This Bill represents the Victorian Government's response to the recommendations arising from the review of the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (the Act) and associated legislation conducted by Peter Hanks QC in 2007.

Key changes include:

The return to work provisions of the Act have been revised to reduce the focus on complex processes and paper compliance, and increase the emphasis on outcomes. Some changes have also been made to the premium and self insurance provisions in the Act.

Some changes have also been made to the premium and self insurance provisions in the Act.

The legislation will be implemented progressively. 

Further information

For general information about the changes, please refer to the common questions and answers, the summary of the changes, or call WorkSafe on (03) 9641 1444 or freecall 1800 136 089.

A Guide to the Act is also available which has been developed to provide an overview of the changes.

For specific questions on changes to legislation and timing of commencement, email act_review@worksafe.vic.gov.au

If you are an employer or an injured worker, your WorkSafe Agent will be able to provide you with information relating to your circumstances.

When do the changes take effect?

To find out when the changes take effect, please read the commencement date fact sheet.

Background

In 2007, the Minister for WorkCover, Tim Holding, announced an independent review of Victoria's Accident Compensation Act 1985 and associated legislation aimed at updating and streamlining the legislation.

The review was undertaken by Peter Hanks QC and supported by a joint Department of Treasury and Finance and WorkSafe Victoria Secretariat. During the course of the review, Mr Hanks met and consulted regularly with a stakeholder reference group established by the Minister.

A dedicated website was set up by the Secretariat to provide detailed information on the review, at www.compensationreview.vic.gov.au

The Premier, the Hon. John Brumby, announced the Government's response to the review on 17 June 2009.