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Wednesday, 19 September 2001
Page: 31054

Ms MACKLIN (10:00 AM) —The Health and Other Services (Compensation) Legislation Amendment Bill 2001 is one that Labor will be supporting. It contains three related sets of amendments to streamline the current administrative arrangements concerning the way in which Medicare and nursing home benefits are reclaimed where a person has suffered a compensable injury, either through WorkCover, transport accident insurance or some other form of legal recovery of medical expenses. Specifically, the bill intends to streamline the administration of the compensation recovery program, managed by the Health Insurance Commission. It intends to make consequential changes to the act governing charges under the program and make consequential amendments related to the change from the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to the Administrative Review Tribunal.

The bill will reduce the requirements in cases which involve settlements of less than $5,000, reduce the notification requirements, simplify the method of calculating debt, and allow the minister to vary the percentage amount for advance payments. The explanatory memorandum states that these measures are estimated to save the Commonwealth $24 million over four years and will reduce the administrative costs both for insurers and legal firms. I would appreciate it if we could get an undertaking from the minister that the Health Insurance Commission will report on the impact of this legislation and the realisation of savings in its future annual reports. This is a useful piece of legislation and, as I said at the start, the opposition will be supporting the bill.