Spinal Injuries Australia has welcomed the Queensland Government’s announcement that it will implement a lifetime care and support scheme by 1 July 2016 for people catastrophically injured in road crashes.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt announced today that Queensland will join the rest of Australia’s states and territories by introducing the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS).
The NIIS will provide essential support for people who sustain catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, severe burns, multiple amputations and permanent blindness.
The implementation of the NIIS has now been referred to a parliamentary committee, which will develop the model for the scheme following discussions with stakeholders and the community.
Spinal Injuries Australia Chief Executive Officer Michael Powell said the scheme would cover lifetime care and support costs for people catastrophically injured in road traffic crashes, irrespective of fault and age.
“Currently Queensland’s compulsory third party insurance is only available where another party is found to be at fault, while in other states people receive funding support irrespective of fault,” he said.
“We have been advocating for this scheme for many years because we know how important it will be in improving outcomes for people who sustain a lifelong disability such as a spinal cord injury.
“We know that early intervention and rehabilitation is the best way to help people with a spinal cord injury re-enter the community and lead fulfilling lives.”
Spinal Injuries Australia Peer Support Officer Jocelyn Stocker sustained quadriplegia in a motor vehicle accident in 2009.
“The NIIS will include more funding for ongoing support and rehabilitation when people are discharged from hospital, which will make such a difference to their lives,” she said.
“This scheme is important to all Queenslanders because a spinal cord injury or other catastrophic injury can happen to anyone at any time.”
Under the scheme, support may include medical treatment and rehabilitation, support for personal care needs, home and vehicle modifications, aids and equipment, along with educational and vocational training.
In August 2011, the Productivity Commission recommended that a NIIS be developed for catastrophic injuries caused by four types of accidents: motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, medical accidents and general accidents in the home or community.
National minimum benchmarks have already been developed for state and territory motor vehicle accident compensation schemes, detailing eligible injuries, the scope of coverage, services provided and reporting requirements.
The other types of accidents will be the subject of future discussions.
Western Australia will also implement the NIIS from 1 July 2016, while all other states and territories have already adopted the scheme.