Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 4 Hansard (7 April) . .
injury occurred; and to offset the cost of the NDIS. Madam Speaker, the government delivered on the first stage of its commitment under the heads of agreement to implement an NIIS for motor vehicle accidents, with the establishment of the lifetime care and support scheme, the LTCS scheme or LTCS, which commenced in the ACT on 1 July 2014.
The scheme was established under the Lifetime Care and Support (Catastrophic Injuries) Act 2014 and is largely administered by the New South Wales Lifetime Care and Support Authority on behalf of the ACT government. As a result, participants in the scheme benefit from the provision of treatment and care by an organisation with recognised experts in managing the long-term treatment and care needs of those with complex and serious injuries.
Based on recent positive feedback received from participants in the scheme, I am pleased to advise that the scheme is operating effectively to provide timely as well as much-needed targeted early intervention and care to those who are catastrophically injured.
Implementation of the NIIS for workers is the second stage of the ACT's commitment under the heads of agreement. As the Productivity Commission found that the incidence of catastrophic injuries under work cover schemes is low and systems are not well geared to provide coordinated lifetime care for such cases, this bill proposes to implement an NIIS for private sector work injuries in the ACT by extending the scheme to provide lifetime care to catastrophically injured workers covered by the Workers Compensation Act 1951. The NIIS for work injuries will apply to injuries that occur from 1 July 2016.
Extending the LTCS scheme to cover injured workers will meet the proposed NIIS minimum national benchmarks for work injuries. Jurisdictions may exceed these minimum standards and, in fact, the scheme to be implemented under the bill I am introducing today exceeds the minimum benchmarks reflecting the care and support benefit provisions already in place under the ACT workers compensation scheme.
The types of catastrophic work injuries that the LTCS scheme will apply to remain unchanged, and include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injury, amputations, severe burns or permanent blindness. Injured workers who are accepted as lifetime participants into the scheme will receive their reasonable and necessary treatment and care for their whole life under the scheme.
The bill also includes consequential changes to the Workers Compensation Act 1951. To avoid double payment of benefits to these injured workers, the bill removes access to treatment and care compensation for injured workers who are accepted as LTCS scheme participants, while the injured worker is a participant in the LTCS scheme. As a result, a catastrophically injured worker accepted as a lifetime participant of the scheme will no longer be able to commute their compensation for treatment and care to a lump sum. Lump sum commutations for treatment and care are inconsistent with the NIIS minimum benchmarks as a lump sum payment can be inadequate due to the injured person living longer or requiring more care due to the difficulties of accurately predicting an injured person's care needs at a given time.
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