Victoria's workplace reforms take effect

Learn how HR could support injured workers and their families

Victoria's workplace reforms take effect

The Victorian government recently announced giving $300m to WorkSafe Victoria to ensure injured workers get the consistent support they need. HRD previously reported on the state’s pledge of key reforms to support injured workers, and now, these reforms are already in effect.

WorkSafe Victoria announced that on 1 July, legislative amendments in the Workplace Safety Legislation and Other Matters Amendment Act 2022 have already taken effect.

The government said that these reforms would help improve the outcomes for injured Victorian workers and the families of those who tragically lost their lives at work.

Support for injured workers

WorkSafe Victoria said that important amendments were made to recognize the nature of diseases such as silicosis. These changes, according to the government, include:

  • Injured workers with silica-related diseases could now make a further common law application for damages if they develop a subsequent silica-related disease.
  • Impairment benefit-lump sum payments could now be made to injured workers with certain eligible progressive diseases that have not stabilised.
  • Workers with eligible progressive diseases who experience further deterioration can now make subsequent impairment benefit claims.
  • Injured workers who receive a lung transplant would be entitled to a minimum of 30% assessed impairment, while the stabilisation requirement would be waived so that any impairment benefit can be accessed before the transplant.
  • Eligibility for compensation for counselling services has also been extended to family members of workers diagnosed with an eligible disease to close the gap in support where the disease is progressive, but death might not be imminent.

Support for families of deceased workers

WorkSafe Victoria also said that other changes, which started on 1 July, would provide additional support to families of deceased workers and recognize the challenges they might face. The government listed the following changes:

  • Extending weekly pension payments for children living with a disability from the age of 16 to the age of 25 to recognise the financial dependency of children with disabilities and the expectation that a parent would have provided ongoing financial support.
  • Allowing an appointed trustee to receive provisional payments on behalf of a person with a disability or a minor to minimise the economic harm resulting from the loss of the deceased worker’s income.
  • The family of an injured worker receiving household help services would continue to be provided with help for six months after the worker’s death.
  • Making compensation available for costs incurred outside of Australia related to a funeral, burial, cremation, or repatriation of a deceased worker’s body.

The Workplace Safety Legislation and Other Matters Amendment Act 2022 became law on 16 March 2022. 

WorkSafe Victoria said that this act aimed to “prevent and better respond to workplace safety incidents, improve outcomes for injured workers and their families and increase Worksafe’s ability to enhance Victoria’s workers’ compensation scheme operations.”

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