Page 1567 - Week 05 - Thursday, 5 May 2016

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The flexible payment options proposed by this bill include the ability to offer a lump sum payout to foreign national participants living overseas in lieu of receiving ongoing benefits. This allows participants to be paid out through a lump sum settlement once their condition has stabilised and a lump sum for the participant’s lifetime treatment and care requirements can be reasonably determined. This will allow the participant to put in place more advantageous arrangements for their treatment and care, calibrated to their country of residence’s medical infrastructure. On balance, this will provide the opportunity for better health outcomes for overseas participants, as well as providing a more efficient process.

Importantly though, Madam Speaker, an overseas participant does not have to accept an offer of a lump sum settlement and can instead choose to have their treatment and care provided over their lifetime. If the participant accepts a lump sum settlement they will no longer be a participant of the scheme.

The offer of a lump sum payout is not available to Australian citizens or permanent residents who are living overseas. This is because these participants could well return home to Australia and the NIIS minimum benchmarks preclude the payment of a lump sum commutation for lifetime treatment and care needs of participants living in Australia.

To address the difficulties of overseas treatment and care provision for Australian citizens or permanent resident participants living overseas, either permanently or for extended periods, the bill provides an option to offer periodic lump sum payments to cover the participant’s approved care needs for an agreed specified period. If a participant chooses to accept a periodic lump sum payment, at the end of the specified period they can choose to revert to receiving ongoing provision of treatment and care whilst overseas.

The adjustments proposed to the scheme in this bill are necessary to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the scheme. The proposed overseas payment options strike the right balance between the goals of providing lifetime treatment and care and the challenges of providing services in a foreign country.

The proposed amendment to cover ACT government-owned vehicles will rectify an unintentional gap in scheme coverage and thereby correct an inequity that currently exists. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

Supreme Court Amendment Bill 2016

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

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