Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the
Act) amendments for claims management came into effect from 1
January 2008 as part of a government package of better worker
benefits. This aims to enhance benefits for longer-term
injured workers and reduce claims duration through early
rehabilitation and return to work.
Section 134 (decision making timeframes)
- New applications for compensation made after 1 January 2008
only-insurers have 20 business days to decide an application for
compensation (does not apply to applications made before that
Sections 150, 151, 152, 157 and 159 (weekly compensation
benefits) - only for injuries sustained on or
after 1 January 2008:
- After the first 26 weeks, totally incapacitated workers will
receive the greater of 75% of normal weekly earnings or 70% of QOTE
for up to 2 years.
- This rate will continue for up to 5 years if the worker has
more than 15% work-related impairment (WRI).
Section 178A (new section about advances on lump sum
- Section 146 allows for advances on weekly compensation
- The new section 178A allows for advances on lump sum
- Allows insurers to make advance payments on lump sum
compensation to workers experiencing financial hardship.
Section 192 (lump sum payments)
- Increased access to additional lump sum compensation by
decreasing the WRI threshold from 50% to 30%-more workers are
eligible to access lump sum payments.
- Increased maximum additional lump sum to $218,400 (previously
Section 203 (death benefit reduced for previous
- Deleted from the Act-payments to a deceased worker's dependants
will no longer be reduced by any previous payments made.
Section 207B (new section about recovery of claim costs
from third parties)
- Extends an insurer's first right of recovery on damages
Section 235A (new section about common law management of
over a period of time (OPT) injuries)
- Streamlines the common law process for OPT (other than latent
onset injuries) injuries-the date of injury is the date first
seen by a doctor. This ties the procedural requirement of the
damages claim to a single date.
Section 245 (common law management of multiple injuries
from one incident) - only for injuries sustained on or after 1
- Streamlines common law claims management in that unassessed or
additional injuries claimed as part of the common law claim cannot
be assessed for permanent impairment.
Sections 330, 264 and 479 (rehabilitation and return to
- Clarifies that Q-COMP will now have a general function to
administer rehabilitation and return to work programs across the
workers' compensation scheme.