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The Pros And Cons Of ACC Bill - Bradford

Green Party ACC Spokesperson Sue Bradford today said while the Greens supported the thrust of the ACC Bill, the party holds significant concerns about key areas which have not been addressed by the bill.

The Greens are particularly pleased to see the return to lump sum payments - to recognise permanent impairment is a loss in itself and not just related to lost earning potential - and the introduction of compensation for those on parental leave.

"However of most significant concern is the fact that the Government is proposing no amendments to the legislative framework for the management and governance of ACC. Given the number of complaints about ACC management we would have expected the Government over the last year to have given the issue more thought," said Ms Bradford.

The Greens are also disappointed and concerned that:

* There is not greater recognition of the role of complementary therapists in treating and preventing injury and disease. A good example is the Alexander Technique which is widely recognised as a long term effective treatment and prevention measure for Occupational Overuse Syndrome;

* The issue of long term illness and incapacity as a result of spray drift has not been more adequately addressed in the bill. There have been no change to the provisions which have a time limit of one month for injury to develop. We would like the bill to recognise the long term effect of some of these toxins;

* Work related personal injury excludes any injury attributable to air conditioning or passive smoking. The new Smokefree Bill in the select committee has identified the issue of workplace safety arising from poor airconditioning systems and passive smoking - this legislation should do no less;

* There are no ethical investment criteria for the management of the large funds that ACC holds;

* There appear to be no changes to dispute resolution process for those who challenge ACC decisions;

* The Greens have received many complaints from claimants who have spent thousands of dollars challenging ACC decisions. The odds are still stacked in ACC's favour with their ability to purchase high priced specialists - both medical and legal - to challenge claimants who are living on a limited income;

* The Greens have also had complaints from medical practitioners, complaining that ACC is now more often challenging their opinions when those opinions do not meet the goals of the case manager.

Ms Bradford said she was disappointed some parties had been unwilling to allow her to participate in the select committee process with full voting rights. However she said the Greens would be fully reserving the right to suggest changes during the Select Committee process and, if necessary, during the committee stages in the House.

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