Breaking news: Bill amending Queensland's Workers' Compensation Scheme Passed  

HopgoodGanim Lawyers’ Insurance and Risk team has published several alerts discussing the proposed changes to Queensland’s workers’ compensation scheme (published on 16 July, 23 July, 7 August, 17 August and 9 September 2015). 

On 17 September 2015 the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill was passed with amendment by Queensland’s parliament.  This bill will make a number of significant changes to Queensland’s workers’ compensation scheme, including the removal of the current limitation on the entitlement to seek damages, that requires a worker to have a degree of permanent impairment as a result of the injury greater than 5% to access common law damages from the date of the Queensland state election (31 January 2015).

The recent amendments to the bill incorporate the enhanced workers’ compensation entitlements for fire fighters in respect of latent onset diseases which were previously the subject of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation (Protecting Fire Fighters) Amendment Bill 2015.

According to the amendments’ explanatory notes, additional proposed amendments are made to the Industrial Relations Act 1999 (QLD) to:

  • improve the expeditious operational performance of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission by restoring administrative responsibility for the Commission and the Industrial Registry with the president and enabling the president to delegate functions as necessary; and
  • widen the pool of applicants for the position of deputy president (Court) and make the legislative criteria concerning the legal status of deputy president (Court) consistent with the applicable for vice president (Court) by removing the requirement to be a “local” lawyer that currently applies to potential applicants for the position of deputy president.

The bill is currently awaiting royal assent and will then become an Act of Parliament.