Queensland Law Society

Parliamentary update for 22–24 October 2019

A number of key legislative reforms were passed in Parliament last week, including:  

• Civil Liability and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018
• Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019  
• Summary Offences and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019


At the time of publication, these Bills were awaiting assent. Highlights are:

• Civil Liability and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018

Significant amendments were introduced to the Bill by the Government during consideration in detail.  

The Bill now:

o Includes an expanded definition of ‘abuse’ to include not only child sexual abuse but also serious child physical abuse and psychological abuse connected with child sexual abuse and serious child physical abuse. The expansion to include serious physical abuse and connected psychological abuse did not form part of the original 2018 Bill and was added during consideration in detail.
o Retrospectively abolishes the limitation period for commencing a civil action for damages for personal injury relating to serious child physical abuse and psychological abuse connected with child sexual abuse and serious child physical abuse, noting that limitation periods have previously been abolished for child sexual abuse claims (amendments to section 11A of the Limitation of Actions Act 1974). This amendment was also added during consideration in detail.
o Includes a prospective, reverse onus duty on institutions to take all reasonable steps to prevent child sexual abuse or serious physical abuse of children in the care of the institution.
o Introduces a statutory framework to enable a claimant to access assets of an associated trust to respond to a damages claim.
o Allows an unincorporated institution to nominate a proper defendant for a claim and to meet any liability incurred.
o Provides statutory indemnities to the trustee of an associated trust of an institution for reasonable legal costs and for liability for breach of trust for taking actions in accordance with the Act.
o Provides for an institution to give an apology to survivors of child abuse which cannot be construed or used as an admission of liability.
o Amends section 64 of the Civil Proceedings Act 2011 to provide that the amount of damages awarded to a person under a legal incapacity may include an amount for management fees relating to the amount awarded to the person.
The amendments to the Civil Liability Act 2003 will commence on a day to be fixed by proclamation. The remaining provisions will commence on assent.  

• Workers' Compensation and Rehabilitation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

A range of amendments have been made to the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (WCRA) including:

o The following amendments will commence on assent:

• To section 32 of the WCRA to remove the requirement that for a psychiatric or psychological disorder, employment is ‘the major’ significant contributing factor to the injury, that is, that all injuries are to be assessed the same, if the injury to which the disorder relates was sustained after commencement (section 731).

• To section 39A (Meaning of terminal condition) so that a terminal condition is now defined as “a condition certified by a doctor as being a condition that is expected to terminate the worker’s life”, removing the requirement that the condition is expected to terminate the worker’s life within two years after diagnosis, if the latent onset injury was sustained by a worker on or after 31 January 2015 (section 732).

• Amendments which provide that unpaid interns are workers for the purposes of the WCRA and entitled to access workers’ compensation benefits.

• The insertion of a new chapter 5, part 14 to exempt expressions of regret and apologies provided by employer representatives following a workplace injury from being considered in any assessment of liability in a civil action brought under the WCRA (specifically a common law claim for damages under chapter 5). This section applies if a person gives a notice of claim after the commencement and an expression of regret or apology was made in relation to the claim before the commencement (section 741).

o Some parts of the Bill which are not listed above will commence on 1 July 2020, see section 2 of the Bill for details.

• Summary Offences and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

o The legislation makes amendments to the following:

• Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000

• State Penalties Enforcement Regulation 2014

• Summary Offences Act 2005

o The amendments to the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 introduce preventative powers to intervene in the use or proposed use of dangerous attachment devices, as well as providing for two new offences relating to their use. ‘Dangerous attachment devices’ are defined by the new section 14B.
o The Bill further amends the State Penalties Enforcement Regulation 2014 to allow for the issue of infringement notices with respect to each of the new offences.

Read more on the QLS legal policy blog here.