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Wednesday, 25 November 1959


Mr CLYDE CAMERON (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - I move -

Omit the clause, insert the following clause: - " 3. Section eleven of the Principal Act is repealed and the following section inserted in its stead: -

11.   - (1.) Where a worker sustains personal injury arising out of or in the course of his employment, the Commonwealth shall, subject to the next succeeding sub-section, pay the cost of such medical treatment in relation to the injury as is reasonably necessary. (2.) The sum for which the Commonwealth is liable under the last preceding sub-section is such sum as the Commissioner considers reasonably appropriate to the medical treatment afforded, having regard to the reasonable necessity for such treatment and the customary charge made in the community for such treatment. (3.) Where any compensation is payable by the Commonwealth under this Act to, or m respect of, a worker, any payment under this Section shall be in addition to that compensation. (4.) Where, for the purpose of medical treatment, in relation to which the preceding subsections apply, a worker incurs expenses on account of travelling or living away from home, including the expenses of an attendant where that is reasonably necessary, he shall be reimbursed for such amount of that expense as the Commissioner considers reasonable and necessarily incurred.'.".

The amendment concerns medical expenses. The bill proposes that the maximum amount of medical expenses allowed to an injured worker shall be increased from £200 to £350, unless the Commissioner considers that exceptional circumstances warrant payment of an amount in excess of this sum. The amendment that I have moved on behalf of the Opposition places no such limitation on the amount that an employee may claim to cover the cost of medical treatment. In addition, the amendment proposes that -

Where, for the purpose of medical treatment, in relation to which the preceding sub-sections apply, a worker incurs expenses on account of travelling or living away from home, including the expenses of an attendant where that is reasonably necessary, he shall be reimbursed for such amount of that expense as the Commissioner considers reasonable and necessarily incurred.

To illustrate the purpose of this paragraph, I shall refer to a man who is blind and who has to travel from a country district to the city for specialist treatment to his eyes. It may be necessary for him to bring his wife or some other person to the city. The two of them have to take hotel accommodation and to pay fares, and they have their ordinary living expenses to meet for two people. One could think of other injuries which would render it necessary for an attendant to accompany the injured person. In these circumstances, we think it not unreasonable that the costs of the attendant be met. I repeat that perhaps the prime purpose of the amendment is to remove the limitation of £350 imposed by the bill on the amount that may be paid for medical expenses.







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