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Key developments

  • SIRA’s review on the ‘minor injury’ definition
  • Fees paid to private practitioners in legally aided matters
  • Retirement villages – exit entitlements and recurrent charges cap
  • International Labour Organisation Convention on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work
  • Notification of data breaches by public sector agencies
  • Cash payment limit – draft legislation
  • Minimum age of criminal responsibility in NSW
  • Review of the Tax Practitioners Board
  • AHRC consultation on human rights

SIRA’s review on the ‘minor injury’ definition

The Injury Compensation Committee contributed to a submission to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority on its review of the ‘minor injury’ definition under the Motor Accidents Injuries Act 2017 (‘the Act’).

The submission outlined various issues with the current ‘minor injury’ definition, including that by attempting to focus on how an injury can be diagnosed objectively, without any contemplation of the real-life consequences of a person’s injury, the threshold can lead to arbitrary, counterintuitive and unfair outcomes for claimants. The submission noted:

  • the threshold for nerve root injuries is much too high and serves to deprive many moderately to seriously injured people of access to appropriate compensation;
  • the distinction between non-minor and minor physical injuries is arbitrary;
  • psychological injuries often take time to develop and by requiring an insurer to make a minor injury determination within six months, many claimants with late onset of symptoms are deprived of appropriate compensation;
  • there is a general lack of understanding among the health practitioner community about the minor injury threshold, which leads to highly variable decisions; and
  • there is little certainty about the definition and how it will apply in each case.

The submission made various recommendations throughout, including for technical amendments to the Motor Accident Injuries Regulation 2017 and Motor Accident Guidelines, on the assumption the Government intends to retain the definition. However, the submission ultimately recommended a better approach would be for the NSW Government to reconsider and reformulate the statutory definition in its entirety, and instead adopt a ‘narrative’ test, which would include both objective evidence of the injury as well as its impact on the person.

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