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SIRA bulletin - Issue 9

A new Personal Injury Commission

The NSW Government has passed legislation that establishes a new tribunal that delivers joined-up dispute resolution services for injured people claiming against the compulsory third party (CTP) and workers compensation insurance schemes.

From March 2021, the Personal Injury Commission (PIC) will form a single, independent tribunal in New South Wales with specialist motor accidents and workers compensation divisions.

Currently, there are multiple dispute resolution bodies delivering dispute resolution services in the schemes:

  • SIRA’s Dispute Resolution Service deals with CTP disputes under the 2017 CTP scheme, and by the Claims Assessment and Resolution Service (known as CARS), and the Medical Assessment Service (known as MAS) under the 1999 CTP scheme.
  • The Workers Compensation Commission (WCC) deals with workers compensation disputes.

The functions of these bodies will be transferred to the PIC.

The Bill also introduces a new Independent Review Office (IRO) that can deal with claims complaints about insurers in both the CTP and workers compensation schemes.

The changes to dispute resolution services and claims complaints are not yet in effect and will commence from March 2021. SIRA will continue to deliver its existing services and keep you informed as the implementation of these changes progresses.

The Bill has no impact on the underlying operation of the CTP and workers compensation schemes, so there are no changes to the compensation, benefits and entitlements of injured road users and workers.

More information about the changes can be found in the Minister’s media release and the readings of the Personal Injury Commission Bill 2020 on the NSW Parliament website.

Statutory Review and the Workers Compensation Operational Fund

SIRA Chief Executive, Ms Carmel Donnelly, has welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement to bring forward and broaden the scheduled five-year review into the State Insurance and Care Governance Act 2015.

“The review will be an important opportunity to also consider whether the workers compensation scheme is delivering on its policy objectives to support workers who are injured, provide affordable policies and scheme sustainability,” Ms Donnelly said.

“SIRA will work transparently and constructively to assist the review and to enable the independent consideration of its funding, powers, regulatory approach and statutory independence.”

The summary table below summarises expenditure from the Workers Compensation Operational Fund from 2015. It has been published to provide transparency following media commentary regarding questions about the funding for workers compensation regulation activities, and the use of the Workers Compensation Operational Fund levies administered by SIRA.

It should be noted that the most recent year's figures have not yet been audited by the NSW Audit Office. It should also be noted that the 2015 figures represent a transitional establishment phase, and include WorkCover finances up until 31 August 2015 and then SIRA’s finances from when it was established on 1 September 2015.

WCOF Funded Programs

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Actual

Actual

Actual

Actual

Actual

$'000

$'000

$'000

$'000

$'000

SafeWork NSW

107,555

112,105

122,847

132,903

127,995

ILARS

44,034

49,864

50,465

57,449

63,050

SIRA

77,302

72,364

60,951

57,102

52,533

WCC

21,828

23,090

26,283

27,153

25,285

WIRO

4,898

6,582

7,343

10,559

10,967

Total

255,617

264,005

267,889

285,166

279,830

The actual levy contribution into the WCOF since the inception of SIRA from both the NI, TMF, self insurers and specialised insurers is summarised as follows:

WCOF Levies

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Actual

Actual

Actual

Actual

Actual

$'000

$'000

$'000

$'000

$'000

TMF Contributions

16,981

18,626

19,443

18,527

19,530

Nominal Insurer Contributions

177,504

213,707

220,604

236,175

232,915

Self Insurers

14,382

15,272

14,832

16,043

17,321

Specialised Insurers

4,691

6,907

7,693

8,026

8,367

Total WCOF Levies*

213,558

254,512

262,572

278,771

278,133

* SIRA has other sources of income including workers compensation S.156 recoveries, infringement notices and interest.

Have your say: SIRA consultations

SIRA invites you to have your say on two consultations that are open for comment:

1. The Health outcomes and reporting framework for the NSW workers compensation and CTP schemes

This new framework introduces a vision that “the workers compensation and CTP schemes regulated by SIRA deliver value-based care to injured persons covered by the schemes”. SIRA is seeking feedback on its new framework and how it can be most effectively used to improve health outcomes and the value of health care expenditure. Have your say before the consultation closes on 4 September 2020.

2. Revised workers compensation guidelines for allied health treatment and hearing service provision

SIRA is consulting on its revised workers compensation guidelines for allied health treatment and hearing service provision. The revised guidelines provide SIRA’s approval framework for providers to deliver treatment and services that optimise health and work outcomes, while maintaining a sustainable workers compensation system. SIRA encourages you to provide feedback before the consultation closes on 16 September 2020.

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