Queensland Law Society

QLS calls for common law rights to be kept as part of NIIS

Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts says a report highlighting design flaws in the National Disability Insurance Scheme should serve as a warning to Queensland as it decides on a model to implement the National Injury Insurance Scheme.

“The NIIS is a safety net for some of society’s most vulnerable people, those catastrophically injured in car accidents," Mr Potts said.

“It will fail these people if it is implemented in a way that cannot be sustainably funded or if it strips them of the dignity and their right of choice."

Details of defects in the NDIS were revealed in a report in The Australian Newspaper on Friday.

Mr Potts said that one of the options being considered by the government is a NIIS which takes away the common law rights of victims and forces them into the scheme dictating their care needs.

“Catastrophically injured people deserve choice about their care and where they live," he said.

“A NIIS model which doesn’t have the choice of common law for care denies injured people the funds to set themselves up where and in a way that is best for them."

Mr Potts said removing common law rights has proved disastrous in other jurisdictions.

“New Zealand did this with their accident scheme, and it only survives by regular –
 and massive – injections of taxpayer money,” he said

“South Australia removed common law rights in a similar workplace related scheme and it went into rapid financial decline.

“Bringing common law back was a key part of making it financially viable again.”

Mr Potts said the model of implementing the scheme in Queensland should be one which best allows an injured person to retain their dignity and have the most choice about their lives.

ENDS

For further information, please contact Tony Keim on 07 3842 5835, mobile 0488 433 884 or via email, t.keim@qls.com.au.