Expanding the Dust Diseases Scheme and protecting worker entitlements
The NSW Government today introduced the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Amendment Bill 2022 to support the operation of the Dust Diseases Care Scheme.
The Scheme provides financial compensation and health care support to people affected by work related dust diseases. If passed, the Bill will simplify benefit calculations to ease the administrative burden on injured workers and their families.
The amendments will remove anomalies in historical legislation that could have given rise to inconsistencies in the calculation of benefits for injured workers. The changes will mean that all current benefit rates are protected and there is no reduction in entitlements.
Minister for Finance Damien Tudehope said the amendments will support the Dust Disease Authority to deliver the Scheme effectively.
“The passing of these amendments will contribute to improving the customer experience for workers in the Scheme by removing any potential ambiguity over their entitlements and simplify the calculation of benefits for historical claims.” Mr Tudehope said.
The introduction of this Bill was brought forward in the same week that the NSW Government passed the Workers’ Compensation (Dust Diseases) Amendment (Scheduled Diseases) Regulation 2022 (Regulation).
The Regulation ensures the expansion of the Schedule 1 list of diseases as recommended by an independent review conducted by Professor Tim Driscoll.
These diseases are based on a current, evidence-based understanding of work-related dust disease and include the following:
· Diffuse dust-related pulmonary fibrosis
· Hypersensitivity pneumonitis
· Pneumoconiosis (any form)
· Silica-induced carcinoma of the lung
· Systemic sclerosis
“Developments in the protection of workers within the workers compensation scheme represent another important step to expanding and safeguarding support for injured workers, “This is an effort to modernise the Scheme with the interests of those who are gravely ill at the heart of these changes.”