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Goodbye WCC, hello PIC

  • Newsletter Article
  • Published 18.06.2020

The Personal Injury Commission Bill (the Bill) was introduced to Parliament on Wednesday, 3 June 2020.

The purpose of the Bill is to establish an independent Personal Injury Commission (PIC), which will deal with disputes in both the workers compensation and motor accidents schemes.

It will replace the Workers Compensation Commission (WCC).

The why

In 2018 the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice found that the existing system was confusing for people navigating disputes in the workers compensation and motor accidents schemes.

Presently there are four entities dealing with disputes in the workers compensation and motor accidents schemes: the WCC, SIRA through the Dispute Resolution Service (in the 2017 CTP scheme) and CARS and MAS in the 1999 CTP scheme.

All four will now be consolidated in a ‘one stop shop’ with separate workers compensation and motor accident divisions.

The how

The PIC will be led by a President who will appoint staff and members and give direction about practice and procedure. Each division will have a Division Head who will report to the President and oversee all aspects of their specialist area.

Much like the WCC, the PIC will deal with proceedings “justly, quickly, cost effectively and with as little formality as possible”.

The intention is that there will be a single registry, fewer forms and a more streamlined process for dispute resolution.

The PIC also plans to build on regional access points currently utilised by the WCC and SIRA to provide greater access for injured people throughout NSW.

There is a focus on minimising disruption and the PIC will broadly maintain the current dispute resolution pathways. Importantly there will be no change to the substantive law concerning an injured person’s rights or entitlements in either scheme.

The detail

The Bill has 7 parts and 5 schedules. Parts 1 to 7 deal with the objects, establishment, membership and constitution of the PIC, specific provisions about merit reviewers, mediators and medical assessors, and common practice and procedure provisions that will apply to both divisions.

Of the schedules, 3 and 4 are particularly important as they set out the constitutional and procedural differences needed for the two specialist divisions to operate as required.

Rules regulating the PIC’s practice and procedure will come later.

The when 

The Bill indicates that the PIC will be established on 1 December 2020; or on a later date to be fixed by proclamation.

At this stage however the Bill is yet to pass both Houses.