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ACC Amendments Bill Raises Concerns

ACC Amendments Bill Raises Concerns

"The IPRC Amendment (No 3) Bill tabled in Parliament recently raises several points of concern" states Murray Jorgensen spokesperson for Acclaim. "Of most concern is the legislating to over-ride the Peck vs ACC High Court judgment."

Acclaim has serious concerns about this clause. If claimants consider that rehabilitation they are required to undertake is inappropriate or consider an assessment they are required to undertake is redundant, given the medical evidence already available to the Corporation, it is a claimants' right at present to test the full extent of ACC's decisions.

Under the proposed ammendment if claimants refuse to undertake rehabilitation or assessments and subsequently lose at review this will more than likely result in their never receiving compensation for the period of "non-compliance". Acclaim believes this will reinforce ACC's tendency to coerce claimants into inappropriate assessments or rehabilitation and dissuade claimants from testing this through the review and appeal process.

The second major concern is the lack of right to review and appeal on discretionary decisions. The Minister argues that such protection from review is necessary to prevent such discretion being used "to inappropriately expand the scheme through review and Court decisions".

"We believe a consequence of the exclusion of discretionary decisions from the review and appeal process is likely to result in claimants being forced into the time-consuming and expensive process of judicial review in the High Court to challenge improper exercises of this discretion by the Corporation." Mr Jorgensen says. "This is an access to justice issue, and removal of review and appeal rights should be strongly opposed."

Acclaim strongly urges people concerned about the current state of the IRPC Act and the proposed ammendments to have their say. There is a closing date for submissions of 24 September 2004.

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