On 9 August 2019 the NSW Minister for Customer Service, Victor Dominello, published a media release supporting reforms to the dispute resolution systems for injured road users and workers.
The announcement is in response to the NSW Parliament Law and Justice Committee’s 2018 review of the workers compensation scheme and 2018 review of the Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme which recommended that a single personal injury tribunal be established to resolve disputes in the workers compensation and CTP schemes. The proposal includes the provision of ombudsman and legal aid services.
Currently in NSW, the Workers Compensation Commission decides disputes in relation to workers compensation claims. The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA), through the Claims Assessment & Resolution Service and the Dispute Resolution Service, determines disputes in CTP Claims. Both systems are complex and almost impossible to navigate for unrepresented claimants.
The media release notes they propose to “consult with scheme providers and stakeholders on a model which best achieves this objective.” However, the preliminary proposal appears to be to expand the jurisdiction of the current Workers Compensation Commission to include MVA disputes whilst retaining the two distinct streams of knowledge.
Whether a single Commission successfully overcomes the complexities of the current dispute resolution processes whilst delivering better outcomes for injured workers and road users alike, remains to be seen.