e-bulletin No. 84 April 2019
New website successfully launched
The Commission’s new website was launched on 10 April 2019. The new website will better support workers, employers, insurers, lawyers and health professionals involved in a dispute.
Stakeholders have been positive about the fresh, device-friendly design, with reports that the user-focussed, intuitive layout is making it easier to locate forms, publications, decisions and legal resources.
Visitors to the website can access excellent information on the dispute pathways with clear, pathway-specific details about every step of the process.
The site features:
- a dedicated section for injured workers, containing information on how the Commission resolves disputes and an explanation of how disputes are assigned to the most appropriate pathway;
- improved search functionality to help find a decision, with a simple search tool to locate arbitrator, medical appeal and costs assessment decisions, and links to presidential decisions;
- a streamlined, direct link from the home page to lodge a dispute.
The new website can be accessed using google translate so that injured workers from non-English speaking backgrounds can understand the dispute resolution process. Brochures in eight community languages are also available from the easy-to-navigate publications page.
The new website reflects recent legislative changes to the workers compensation dispute resolution system in NSW that positioned the Commission as the central body for resolving all disputes. Forms and other online documents have been updated to accommodate the Commission’s new role of resolving work capacity disputes.
For more information, read our news article.
Online lodgment portal goes live!
The centrepiece of the Commission’s digital service delivery platform is the new online portal.
Parties and their legal representatives will be able to lodge documents and track the progress of disputes in the Commission.
The new platform will provide significant benefits, including:
- 24/7 access to lodge and view applications from any device;
- Access to, and exchange of, information online;
- Electronic access to documents produced by third parties;
- Real time access to the progress of matters, including future allocations such as medical appointments and hearings;
- Opportunities for reduction in timeframes to resolve disputes;
- SMS technology for notification of proceedings “events”;
- Ability to brief Counsel electronically.
Following a recent pilot program, the new portal will go live on 1 May 2019. Follow the links on the Commission’s website to use the portal.
User guides and helpdesk support will be available to parties from go-live.
RMS Building Services Pty Ltd v Hochbaum  NSWWCCPD 15
Today, President Phillips J handed down the decision in RSM Building Services Pty Ltd v Hochbaum  NSWWCCPD 15.
This is a matter of significant interest as it concerns the application and interpretation of s 39 of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (the 1987 Act). Section 39 provides that a worker’s entitlement to payments of weekly compensation is only available for an aggregate period of 260 weeks, unless the worker’s degree of permanent impairment resulting from injury is more than 20%.
At first instance, the Arbitrator determined that once a worker receives an assessment of permanent impairment of more than 20% that will entitle the worker to weekly payments of compensation for the period before that assessment was made. The employer appealed the Arbitrator’s decision.
Given the nature of the issues in dispute, the State Insurance Regulatory Authority intervened in the appeal proceedings, pursuant to s 106 of the Workplace Injury Management and Workers Compensation Act 1998.
The President overturned the Arbitrator’s decision. His Honour held that the effect of s 39(1) is to make clear that a worker has no statutory entitlement to weekly payments of compensation after an aggregate period of 260 weeks. Section 39(2) restores that statutory entitlement in circumstances where the degree of permanent impairment resulting from the injury is more than 20%. Section 39(3) defines “permanent impairment”, for the purposes of s 39(2), as an assessment provided by s 65 of the 1987 Act. Section 39(2), read with s 39(3), supplies the relevant temporal component to the operation of s 39.
The President held that the proper construction of s 39(2), read in context, is to restore a worker’s entitlement to weekly compensation, at the point in time an Approved Medical Specialist assesses the degree of permanent impairment resulting from injury to be more than 20%. A worker’s entitlement to weekly compensation beyond the aggregate period of 260 weeks remains dependent on satisfying the preconditions for payment of weekly compensation pursuant to s 38 of the 1987 Act.
A copy of the decision can be downloaded here.