Tuesday, February 27, 2024

ACC Bill passes first reading

The Accident Compensation (Access Reporting and Other Matters) Amendment Bill has passed its first reading in parliament.

“I’m proud to continue the Government’s work towards addressing inequities in accessing the Accident Compensation Scheme with this new package of reforms,” said Minister for ACC, Carmel Sepuloni.

“ACC is a valuable part of Aotearoa New Zealand’s social fabric, and helps to rehabilitate thousands of people each year, but we know that not everyone is able to access ACC equally.

“This package of amendments includes a duty for ACC to report annually on how Māori and other population groups are accessing its services, an amendment to the purpose of ACC that broadens it from claimants to all injured people, and bringing forward eligibility for the minimum rate of compensation from the sixth to the second week of incapacity.”

The Minister said bringing forward eligibility for the minimum rate will remove a financial hardship earlier in the recovery process, allowing people on low incomes to better focus on their rehabilitation.  

The Bill is the second package of reforms to the Accident Compensation Scheme and works alongside the recently passed Accident Compensation (Maternal Birth Injury and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2022.

“The drivers of access disparities are complex,” Ms Sepuloni said. “ACC has done a considerable amount of work to understand these drivers, but these amendments will provide more tools for them to understand how to address these inequities.

“The data collected from annual reporting will be invaluable in understanding who is accessing ACC and how and, even more importantly, who is not and why not.

“It’s vital that we keep working to better understand why some injured people may not be accessing coverage, so we can make sure ACC is fair and fit for purpose for everyone.”

The legislation will now go to the Education and Workforce Committee for consultation and feedback.

“The Committee made an incredibly valuable contribution to the Birth Injuries and Other Matters Act  earlier this year. I’m looking forward to their contribution on this new legislation,” Minister Sepuloni said.

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