Page 5189 - Week 16 - Thursday, 28 November 1991

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Thursday, 28 November 1991


MR SPEAKER (Mr Prowse) took the chair at 10.30 am and read the prayer.


MR BERRY (Minister for Health and Minister for Sport) (10.31): Mr Speaker, I present the Workers' Compensation (Amendment) Bill 1991. I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the Government is committed to the ongoing review of workers' compensation arrangements in the ACT and has accepted advice from the Workers' Compensation Monitoring Committee that a number of changes to the existing legislation are necessary. The committee is a tripartite body which provides advice to the Government on workers' compensation matters. Variations proposed are based on some of the recommendations of a report from a working party established in 1983 to examine the operations and provisions of the existing workers' compensation scheme.

A number of benefits will change under the provisions of this Bill. The definition of "spouse" will change to the terms of "de facto spouse" as defined in the Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984. As a result, a dependent male spouse will be entitled to receive benefits previously available to a dependent female spouse only.

Treatment by a registered chiropractor, osteopath, dental prosthetist, remedial medical gymnast or speech therapist will be allowable. Under present arrangements payment for treatment for any of these purposes is up to the insurance company concerned.

Fares and other expenses incurred in obtaining treatment will be payable, as will be the cost of replacement or repair of an artificial limb or other artificial substitute or of a medical, surgical or other similar aid or appliance. Compensation for reasonable costs or damage to clothing, artificial aids and spectacles, including costs of fares and accommodation associated with medical treatment, will also be allowable.

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