The NSW Government has introduced an emergency Bill to Parliament yesterday, the COVID-19 Emergency Measures Bill 2020, which proposes to make amendments to existing legislation that will help combat the spread of COVID-19.

The proposed amendments will have various effects, but for the most part they are intended to achieve one or more of the following objectives:

  1. To prohibit or excuse a person from attending a particular location if to do so would present a public health risk;
  2. To enable or assist a person to perform a task remotely where the legislation currently requires or presumes in-person attendance;
  3. To delay the effect of a provision which would otherwise produce a particular result due to the failure of a person to be present in a location, or where a delay might otherwise be expected as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak; or
  4. To confer a power to make regulations for one or more of these purposes.

Changes to MVA and Workers Compensation Legislation

An example of the new changes can be seen in the amendments to the Motor Accident Injuries Act, 2017 and the Workers Compensation Act ,1987, which relate to the provision of Certificates of Capacity/Fitness of an injured person.

As required by current law, the initial Certificate of Capacity/Fitness of an injured person is to be given by a treating medical practitioner to the insurer, in accordance with the motor accident guidelines or the workers compensation regulations.

So What’s New?

The new amendments now prescribe that subsequent certificates provided by the injured person to the insurer do not have to be given by a treating medical practitioner, provided the certificate still complies with the respective regulations or guidelines.

The Bill does not specify how long these amendments will remain in place, but it would seem they have been introduced to minimise the amount and frequency of persons medical practitioners are exposed to for non-essential reasons.

There remains some uncertainty about how these amendments will operate on a practical level, but we will know more ‘we will know more in the upcoming days!

If you need advice or have any questions related to how these new amendments will affect you, please feel free to contact Emma and the Burke Mead Team.