Implementation of the National Injury Insurance Scheme in Queensland on the horizon01 August 2016
The Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation (National Injury Insurance Scheme) Amendment Bill 2016 (the Bill) was introduced to Queensland Parliament on 14 June 2016. As well as implementing the National Injury Insurance Scheme, the Bill contains the following amendment to s 10 of the Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (the Act):
"Further, a reference in subsection (1) to the liability of an employer does not include a liability to pay damages, for injury sustained by a worker, arising from an indemnity granted by the employer to another person for the other person's legal liability to pay damages to the worker for the injury."
The explanatory notes for the Bill state that the amendment to s 10 of the Act seeks to reverse the effects of Byrne v People Resourcing (Qld) Pty Ltd & Anor  QSC 269, which extended indemnity by WorkCover to employers for a liability to pay damages incurred by a third party contractor under a contractual arrangement. It also seeks to limit indemnity to circumstances where there is a legal liability, independent of the Act, on the worker's employer to pay damages.
Further, the Bill seeks to void any agreements where indemnity is extended by employers to a third party, for a liability to pay damages.
The Bill will have some retrospective application—once passed, it will apply to claims for damages started before the commencement of the amendment provisions, as well as claims where settlement or legal proceedings have not occurred before the commencement.
The Bill was referred to the Education, Tourism, Innovation and Small Business Committee to report on by 19 August 2016. Therefore, it is unlikely that the Bill will be passed during the next sitting of Parliament, which is scheduled to commence on 16 August 2016.