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QTPA Member Alert |Changes to the Workers’ compensation scheme (13/12/2013)

Changes to the Workers’ Compensation Scheme

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 mandates a review of the scheme every five years, the most recent of which was conducted in 2012 by the Queensland Parliament’s Finance and Administration Committee. A report was tabled in Parliament on 23 May 2013 which made 32 recommendations.

The government tabled a response on 15 October which accepted 20 of the 32 recommendations. The amendment Bill was introduced in Parliament on 15 October and was passed on 17 October.

What this means for you as a Rehabilitation and return to work coordinator:

  • Q-COMP was replaced by the Workers’ Compensation Regulator which has merged with the Office of Fair and Safe Work Queensland within the Department of Justice and Attorney-General. Current Q-COMP staff and functions are being transferred to the Department and the Q-COMP Board will continue until 30 June 2014. All services including review, appeals and the medical assessment tribunals will continue as these functions remain in the legislation.
  • Rehabilitation and return to work coordinators no longer need to be certified to carry out their roles. It is now the responsibility of the employer to ascertain that a coordinator is “appropriately qualified” to carry out their role in the context of the environment they are working in. This means that there is no requirement for registration with the Regulator, and coordinators don’t need to renew their current certificates to continue working in their roles. We have received feedback that some employers who are tendering for government contracts are being asked to provide proof of certification for their workplace accreditation. Employers are no longer required to have their rehabilitation and return to work policies and procedures accredited by the Regulator.
  • The introduction of a threshold for common law claims was amended – for all injuries from 15 October 2013 to be entitled to access common law a person must have an assessed DPI greater then 5 per cent, have a terminal condition as a result of a work related injury, or be deceased as a result of a work related injury.
  • The list of high risk industries has been updated to be in line with modern industry classifications
  • An employer can now access prospective workers claims history and request disclosure of pre-existing injuries. 
  • Introduction of increased penalties for fraud matters.

Other changes include

  • Employment must be the major significant factor for psychiatric or psychological injuries instead of a contributing factor.
  • For claims with a date of injury from 15 October 2013 the method for assessing permanent impairment and calculating statutory lump sum compensation changed from work related impairment (WRI) to degree of permanent impairment (DPI).
  • For injuries sustained prior to 15 October 2013, assessment of impairment will be made using the Table of injuries and AMA4 and these workers will still receive an offer of lump sum compensation based on their WRI.
  • For workers injured from 15 October 2013, permanent impairment will be assessed using the new Guide to the evaluation of permanent impairment, which is known as the GEPI and this references AMA 5.

Workers will receive an offer of lump sum compensation based on their degree of permanent impairment (DPI). Physical injuries are combined to calculate the DPI, however psychiatric injuries cannot and will not be combined with physical injuries and will remain separate.

To read the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 in full click here.

If you have any questions regarding these changes please email us at or call us on 1300 361 235.


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