The Government is proposing the introduction of a framework for regular review of occupational diseases for which ACC can provide cover.
“The Government is taking steps towards delivering on a key manifesto commitment and seeking feedback on a review of occupational diseases for which ACC can provide cover,” Minister for ACC, Carmel Sepuloni said.
“Our Government remains committed to undertaking work to return ACC to its original purpose of assisting all New Zealanders who have had an injury.
“That’s why we’re taking an evidence-based approach to updating the list of illnesses caused through workplace exposure to harmful environments.”
Consultation will begin on a review of Schedule 2 of the Accident Compensation Act 2001. Schedule 2 is a list of occupational diseases for which ACC can provide cover and is part of the work-related gradual process, disease, or infection cover provided by ACC.
“We know that ACC is a unique and world-leading no fault insurance scheme. The list however hasn’t been updated for 14 years which is why through this consultation, we’re actively seeking to modernise the process for keeping the list up to date.”
The proposed framework would help to keep the list of the diseases ACC covers up to date and the list is reviewed at regular intervals, the Minister said.
“Currently, we have no formal, regular process for keeping Schedule 2 up-to-date. It’s important that the list of occupational diseases in Schedule 2 has an evidence-based framework to support it remaining relevant to the experiences of working New Zealanders.
“This consultation is even more important as it proposes to give everybody, including those affected by occupational diseases, the opportunity to contribute to reviewing Schedule 2 for the first time.
“Our understanding of these diseases must stay current with modern medical and epidemiological evidence, to improve access to the Accident Compensation Scheme’s (AC Scheme) cover for those who need it.
“I am also focused on improving gender equity in the AC Scheme. As part of that, a regular review framework, which would take gender into account, could improve our understanding of how occupational diseases impact different population groups in Aotearoa New Zealand.
“By addressing these gaps in our understanding, a review could be used to improve awareness and preventative action against how occupational diseases impact men as well as women,” she said.