Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 November 1994

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Parliamentary Record 6


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 23 November 1994 that period, the board has to examine the situation and decide whether it will allow the claim. This amendment seeks to put in a further absolute barrier, a 3-year mark, beyond which claims cannot be lodged. The opposition rejects the amendment and does not support the bill. It is most unlikely that many people will be hurt or will be badly done by as a result o f the amendment that the minister is proposing, but we have a duty to enact legislation that is just to all. The fact is that there are still a number o f people in the community who are not aware o f their rights when it becomes pertinent for them to be able to make a claim. There are many people from non-English-speaking backgrounds who may not become aware for quite some time that they are able to make a claim under MACA. Sometimes a situation arises where people have a chronic illness that has not stabilised over that period, and they may not have made a claim. These days, journey claims, for example, come under MACA rather than under the Work Health Act. Quite often, where it is a work health matter and there is an obligation on the employer, the employee believes that the employer has provided notification o f the accident and is under the impression that the matter is going through the system. In relation to a journey claim, the employee could continue in the quiet belief that the claim was being processed and it is feasible that the 3-year period could expire and the person could miss out. Mr Perron: The claim is in the system for 3 years! Mr EDE: No. The claim has not been notified; it has not existed. It may be that, as a result o f the accident, the person has left the Territory. They may have gone south believing the claim was being processed. They may have written saying that they had another job. They may have written to their former employer who could have gone broke or may no longer be in business or whatever. Things happen. I am not saying that this situation would apply in even 1% o f cases. I am talking about a 0.1% situation that could arise. Another example might be where a juvenile is involved. A juvenile might be living in the same town as his parents, but not in the family home. A situation might arise whereby the juvenile believes that the father is handling the matter. There may be a breach in the relationship and father and son may not be talking to one another yet the son may believe that these things are happening. Situations o f those kinds can occur although one would hope that they would not. All we are saying is that we believe that what the minister is proposing is too absolute. We believe that what is required is a small escape clause. Consequently, we have circulated the following amendment: (4) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (3), the board way consider a claim where it considers it is in the interests o f justice to do so. I f the situation arises, because the person has been slack and has not done what is needed and no matter o f justice is involved, they will miss out if the 3-year period has expired. However, if there is a situation where rejection o f the claim would clearly breach natural justice and would go against the ordinary rightness and fitness o f things, we believe there should be that opportunity for the board to consider it. The board itself might well 1836