Supporting people who suffer a catastrophic injury
In August 2011, the Productivity Commission (PC) recommended the establishment of two schemes: the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS). The PC recommended that the NIIS be separate for a number of reasons, such as:
- reducing the cost of the NDIS through a fully funded insurance accident scheme;
- making use of existing expertise and institutions of accident compensation schemes;
- using incentives to deter risky behaviour and reduce local risks that can contribute to accidents; and
- covering a broader range of health costs associated with catastrophic injuries, such as acute care and rehabilitation services.
The PC recommended that a NIIS be developed for catastrophic injuries caused by four types of accidents: motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, medical accidents and general accidents (occurring in the home or community).
The Australian Government is currently working with States and Territories to develop the NIIS as a federated model of separate, state-based no-fault schemes that provide lifetime care and support for people who have sustained a catastrophic injury.
The NIIS will build on existing State and Territory accident compensation schemes (for example, for motor vehicle and workplace accidents) to complement the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Minimum benchmarks for motor vehicles
To implement the NIIS for motor vehicle accidents, minimum benchmarks (or national standards) have been developed for State and Territory motor vehicle accident compensation schemes.
Support will be provided on a no-fault basis, significantly reducing legal disputes so that catastrophically injured people will benefit from early access to medical and disability care. Support may include medical treatment and rehabilitation, support for personal care needs, home and vehicle modifications, aids and appliances, educational support, vocational and social rehabilitation and domestic assistance.
The minimum benchmarks for motor vehicle accidents have been agreed by the seven jurisdictions that have committed to the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme: New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and Queensland. The commencement dates for a NIIS for motor vehicle accidents aligns with the commencement of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in that jurisdiction. The agreed minimum benchmarks for motor vehicle accidents are now available.
As the NIIS is a federated model, States and Territories have some flexibility in how they implement a NIIS, including providing higher standards of service or eligibility than set by the minimum benchmarks. However, if a jurisdiction does not fully meet the minimum benchmarks, individuals who are catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident and not covered by the relevant State or Territory accident compensation scheme will receive lifetime care and support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme. States and Territories will be responsible for 100 per cent of the cost of people who enter the National Disability Insurance Scheme because their motor vehicle accident compensation scheme does not meet the minimum benchmarks.
Other NIIS streams
The Australian Government is continuing to work with States and Territories on a NIIS for individuals who are catastrophically injured in workplace accidents, medical treatment accidents or general accidents (occurring in the home or community). For further information on the commitment by governments, please refer to the Heads of Agreements on the National Disability Insurance Scheme website.
The Treasury has published Workplace accidents: A Consultation Regulation Impact Statement containing a draft set of minimum benchmarks for the workplace accidents stream. The consultation process is now complete. Commonwealth, State and Territory government officials are working to progress the minimum benchmarks so that they can be agreed by Governments.
Medical treatment injury and general accidents: Government officials are examining the issues around these two streams of the NIIS and have prepared a draft medical treatment injury discussion paper on a no-prejudice basis, which addresses a number of complex issues that have not yet been resolved.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a significant reform to the delivery of support services for people with significant and permanent disability. To ensure that the scheme is financially sustainable and will support Australians with disability over their lifetimes, the Minister administering the Insurance Act 1973 determined rules in relation to risk management and the scheme actuary.