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Greens welcome recommended ACC changes

9 March 2006

Greens welcome recommended ACC changes

Recommendations by the Ministerial Advisory Panel on work-related gradual process disease or infection released today are being welcomed by Green Party ACC Spokesperson Sue Bradford.

"I completely endorse these recommendations and congratulate the panel on the work they've done in helping to reframe the future of ACC in this country. I hope the Government will adopt all the major recommendations of the report and implement them as soon as practicable," Ms Bradford says.

A 2001 Green Party amendment to ACC legislation established the panel, which considered how ACC should deal with gradual and 'non-physical' injuries incurred at work, and first met in June 2003.

"If we hadn't achieved this amendment, the outcome we see today would not have been possible," Ms Bradford says.

Ms Bradford is particularly pleased with the panel's recommendations:

* to change the law to extend ACC cover to such conditions as multiple chemical sensitivity, chemical induced illness and chronic regional pain syndrome.

* to extend cover to situations where no 'physical injury' can be shown - but other forms of injury are proven - for example stress and mental injuries. This would have helped Wellington man Bruce Gardiner who recently handed back a service medal in protest at his treatment by ACC following a traumatic incident while driving his truck that left him unable to work.

* that those with impairment regardless of cause be entitled to a comparable level of medical, social and vocational rehabilitation regardless of whether they are covered by ACC or not.

"Many people with grievances against ACC have come to me for help over the last six years. Prominent among the cases include claimants with multiple chemical sensitivity and chronic pain who have been refused cover or taken off ACC because they're told they have 'no physical injury'. This is a huge injustice.

"The Greens will be pushing hard to ensure that the Government implements these recommendations in full, as they are a light on the horizon for many suffering people, "Ms Bradford says.


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