NSW Parliament Passes Bill to Establish New Personal Injury Commission

Tuesday 11 August 2020 @ 2.22 p.m. | Legal Research

On 3 June 2020, New South Wales Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello introduced the Personal Injury Commission Bill 2020 (NSW) (“the Bill”) into the Legislative Assembly. The Bill has since passed both houses of parliament with amendments. 

The Bill seeks to establish the Personal Injury Commission of New South Wales (“the Commission”), and is part of a larger government commitment to improve customer experience in resolving disputes in workers compensation and motor vehicle accident schemes.

Currently, customers have to deal with multiple dispute resolution entities under these schemes. The Workers Compensation Commission (“the WCC”) handles workers compensation disputes. The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (“SIRA”) deals with motor accident disputes through its dispute resolution service under the 2017 compulsory third party insurance (“CTP”) scheme, and through the Claims Assessment and Resolution Service and the Medical Assessment Service in the 1999 CTP scheme.

The 2018 Standing Committee Review

In 2018, the New South Wales Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice (“the Committee”) under took a review of the workers compensation scheme, and found that navigating disputes in various schemes can be confusing and frustrating for individuals, especially during time of recovery from injuries. The Committee tabled its final report, containing its 5 recommendations, on 12 February 2019. Its first recommendation suggested the consolidation of the workers compensation and CTP dispute resolution schemes into a single personal injury tribunal by expanding the jurisdiction of the WCC. However, the Committee noted that two streams of expertise were to be maintained.

The consolidation of these dispute resolution processes was recommended in order to provide greater certainty, efficiency, and to better streamline decision making for claimants. On 9 August 2019, the New South Wales Government released its response to the Committee’s recommendations. The Government supported, in principle, the Committee’s first recommendation. The Bill addresses this response to the first recommendation.

The Bill

The Bill seeks to establish the Commission to be headed by a judicial officer with the jurisdiction of the WCC and SIRA. The Commission will handle matters in regards to both workers compensation and CTP, allowing stakeholders to only deal with a single commission. It is expected that consolidation of these processes will lead to a reduction in the duplication of processes, and therefore lead to greater certainty and efficiency for all parties involved.

The Commission is also intended to operate on a single digital registry, in order to phase out paper applications, with the intention to increase visibility for customers over their disputes, and allow for faster delivery of outcomes. The Commission will also continue to consolidate and build on the current WCC and SIRA regional dispute resolution service locations in order to maintain equitable access across NSW. The practices and procedures of the Committee will be regulated through a rule committee, in order to ensure the Commission’s independence and balanced representation from both schemes.

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Personal Injury Commission Bill 2020 (NSW) and additional materials available from TimeBase's LawOne Service

2018 review of the workers compensation scheme (NSW Parliament)

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