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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 1 Hansard (22 February) . . Page.. 266 ..




Workers Compensation - Return to Work Programs

Ms Tucker - asked the Minister for Industrial Relations - In relation to the Workers' Compensation Act 1951 -

(1) What assessment have you made of the success or otherwise of the amendments made in 1994 and what are the results.

(2) (a) Are you aware of the practice of insurance companies of rejecting claims in the 21 day period as prescribed in section 26B while at the same time advising the claimant that the claim will be reassessed when further information is received; (b) what is the frequency of this practice; (c) does the Government consider this practice undermines the intention of the legislation to ensure speedy implementation of return to work programs; and (d) what is the Government doing to address this practice.

(3) Would you provide details on any information you have on the use of section 26C and any problems with the implementation of this section.

(4) What assessment have you made of the success or otherwise of return to work programs.

Mr De Domenico - the answer to the Member's question is as follows:

(1) In May and June 1995, ACT WorkCover conducted a random survey of 215 businesses in the ACT to ascertain the level of awareness with the rehabilitation provisions on the Workers ' Compensation Act 1951. The survey found that only 15% of the businesses that had employees were aware of the requirements to have a rehabilitation policy and to appoint a rehabilitation coordinator. In recognition of this, the Workers' Compensation Monitoring Committee has planned a promotion campaign for early 1996 to alert all parties in the workplace to their responsibilities.

(2) (a) Section 26B of the Act obligates insurance companies either to commence making weekly payments or to reject a claim within 21 days of receiving it;
(b) I have no information on the frequency of this practice; ACT WorkCover has written to all approved workers' compensation insurers in the ACT seeking information on just this matter and I shall inform the Assembly when I have further information; (c) the requirement to determine claims within 21 days of receipt by an approved insurer is intended to assist the rehabilitation process. Section 15C(2) of the Act specifies that occupational rehabilitation can commence before there is an admission of liability in

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