Workers Compensation, Where is it at?
The Disputes and Dispute Mechanisms
I would describe the various processes and pathways which apply to the notification and resolution of disputes for Workers Compensation entitlements as convoluted and treacherous.
The first task is to identify what type of dispute is under consideration.
A dispute is to what could be described as primary liability as dealt with by means of a notice under Section 74 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998.
If the dispute relates to a work capacity decision then the notice of that dispute must be given in accordance with Section 54 of the WCA only (Workers Compensation Act 1987 (WCA)).
Nothing in the legislation prevents notices being issued concurrently under Section 74 of the WIM Act or Section 54 of the WCA and there is yet another form of notice that applies where the dispute is limited to the extent of a claimant’s whole person impairment.
Dispute notices by reference to a Section 74 Notice are dealt with by the Workers Compensation Commission.
Disputes as to the extent of whole person impairment are only dealt with administratively by the Workers Compensation Commission by a referral to an approved medical specialist.
Disputes as to a work capacity decision are dealt with by the most cumbersome and convoluted administrative process in the history of mankind, the short form of which is internal review, external review as to merit and external review as to procedure. There is also access to administrative review by the Supreme Court but of course, that is only for the extremely brave or extremely well-off.
A Sub-Section of a Walker Law Group Presentation to the Northern Beaches Law Society on 24th March, 2017.