More workers’ compensation disputes will be resolved faster and more efficiently thanks to new laws passed by Parliament today – delivering fairer outcomes for Victorians and helping them to get back to work as soon as they can.
The Andrews Labor Government’s reformsallow the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service to hear and make binding determinations on disputes not resolved by conciliation.
This provides Victorians injured on the job with a simpler and cheaper way to resolve disputes, sparing them the cost, time and stress of going to court.
Workers will be able to have their dispute arbitrated by the conciliation service in an informal manner – and more quickly than it takes to conclude most court proceedings.
Under the laws, a hearing must start within 30 days of the dispute being referred to arbitration. Once an application for arbitration begins, a hearing will generally finish within 60 days with a determination made within two weeks of the hearing concluding.
With the cost and complexity of court proceedings previously deterring many workers from pursuing their dispute, the new laws ensure that more Victorians will have their matter heard and reach a resolution that works for them. This means less stress, fairer outcomes, and better recovery for injured workers.
It will also help to free up court capacity and boost efficiency by diverting suitable claims away from the court system.
The reforms deliver on the Labor Government’s commitment to improve the dispute resolution process in line with a recommendation from the Victorian Ombudsman in its 2019 report into workers’ compensation claims.
As stated by Minister for Workplace Safety Ingrid Stitt
“Workers now have a faster and fairer pathway to resolve their workers’ compensation disputes – meaning better outcomes for injured Victorian workers.”
“These laws empower Victorians injured at work to focus on their recovery and getting back to the job – rather than dealing with stressful and lengthy court proceedings.”