This edition was issued on 20 April 2023
This edition includes an important cyber security update, a welcome to our new Director, Legal and Policy, outlines changes that have come into effect to the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017, acting arrangements for our Division Head, Workers Compensation Division while Glenn Capel is on leave, as well as mention of a notable NSW Supreme Court decision.
I will be in touch with another edition of Personal Injury Commission News soon.
Cyber Security Update – TikTok ban
Please do not access the Commission’s Portals from devices with the TikTok application installed
The Federal Government recently announced a mandate to remove the social mediaapp “TikTok” from Commonwealth Government-issued devices due to the cyber and data security risks associated with that application. Cyber Security NSW has issued a similar ban across the NSW Public Sector.
The Commission is taking these risks very seriously, given the private and sensitive information of claimants and workers that the dispute resolution process requires. The Commission has taken steps to protect this information as far as is practicable considering this threat and directed all staff and decision makers to remove TikTok from their devices.
All tribunal users who file matters and engage with the Commission via our case management portals are also strongly encouraged to take the same action. Please remove TikTok from any devices you use to file and conduct cases with us.
The Commission is working with the NSW Bar Association and the Law Society of NSW to address this threat with their support and would be appreciative of similar support from the insurance companies who engage with us.
Thank you in advance for taking demonstrative action to help the Commission mitigate this cyber security risk and keep the Commission’s data safe.
Motor Accident Injuries Act: further changes come into effect
A number of important changes to the Motor Accident Injuries Act 2017 came into effect on 28 November 2022.
As of 1 April 2023, further changes came into effect.
Below is a brief overview of the important items to note:
- The Motor Accident Injuries Act applies to all accidents that occurred on or after 1 December 2017
- On 28 November 2022 the Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Act 2022 took effect which makes several amendments
- Several of the amendments commenced on 1 April 2023; however, some were effective from the date of assent, meaning as of 28 November 2022.
What are the main changes?
- Requirement for internal reviews before medical assessment applications
- Time limits for making damages claim removed
- Time limits for referring claims for assessment changed
- Restrictions on settlement of claims removed
Changed as of 1 April 2023:
- The term “minor injury” has now been omitted and will be known as “threshold injury”.
- The definition remains the same, in that it still refers to a soft tissue injury, or a psychological or psychiatric injury that is not a recognised psychiatric illness.
Statutory benefits weekly payments
- Payments of weekly benefits are to increase from the current 26 weeks to 52 weeks for those injured who are at fault or who have minor injuries.
A number of amendments to dispute types in Schedule 2, including removal of two merit review matters (1)(l) and (m) and changes to medical assessment matters and claims assessment matters.
Procedural Direction PIC 6 has been revised in line with these changes, and can be accessed here.
Acting Division Heads, Workers Compensation Division
While Workers Compensation Division Head, Glenn Capel, is on leave from 20 April to 19 May, Principal Member John Harris will be acting in the role from 21-28 April, followed by Principal Member Jo Bamber from 1-12 May, then Principal Member John Harris from 15-19 May.
The Instruments of Delegation are available here.
NSW Supreme Court decision of note
The following matter, recently before the NSW Supreme Court involving a Workers Compensation Division Medical Panel, merits a close reading.
Mills v Martin-Brower Australia P/L  NSWSC 253
PRECIS: Adamson J held that the rules applying to judicial officers for recusal applications apply in the same way to administrative decision-makers. Alleged apprehended bias - whether member who sat on WCC could also be a member of the Appeal Panel to assess degree of permanent impairment. Full decision here.
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