TAC legislation changes

Amendments to the Transport Accident Act 1986 following the passage of the Treasury and Finance Legislation Amendment Act 2018.

On 25 September 2018, the Treasury and Finance Legislation Amendment Act 2018 received Royal Assent. This Act makes a number of amendments to the Transport Accident Act 1986 (TA Act), which are intended to clarify the intent of the legislation, to increase the benefits available to TAC clients and their supporting family members and to address an existing anomaly in the TA Act by extending TAC coverage to cyclists if they are injured as a result of a collision with a stationary vehicle.

Expanding the definition of a transport accident to include an incident involving a collision with a stationary vehicle:

If a pedal cyclist has been injured as a result of a collision with a stationary motor vehicle, they will now be able to lodge a claim for compensation with the TAC. Prior to this amendment being made, a pedal cyclist was only entitled to TAC compensation when colliding with a stationary vehicle if they were travelling to or from their place of employment, or if they were injured in a car dooring incident.

This anomaly was highlighted in an incident involving Mr Rory Wilson on 9 July 2014, where in 2017 the Supreme Court of Victoria held that Mr Wilson was not entitled to compensation under the TAC scheme due to the application of the legislation, as he was not injured whilst travelling to or from his place of employment.

This amendment will have retrospective application, and will apply to any incident involving a collision between a pedal cyclist and a stationary vehicle on or after 9 July, 2014. This means that this amendment will include the incident involving Mr Wilson, and any other cyclist injured in similar circumstances since that date.

The time limit to lodge a claim with the TAC pursuant to section 68 of the TA Act for all incidents of this nature that have occurred between 9 July 2014 and 25 September 2018 will commence from 26 September 2018, that being the date of commencement of the amending Act.

Any pedal cyclist who has been involved in an incident involving a collision with a stationary vehicle since 9 July 2014 is encouraged to contact the TAC to determine whether they may be eligible for TAC compensation.

The Act also extends the TAC’s existing sport accident exclusionary provisions to a person who is injured in a transport accident involving a pedal cycle that is taking part in an organised professional race or speed trial unless the transport accident involves a collision between a pedal cycle and an unauthorised vehicle. An unauthorised vehicle is defined in the legislation as a vehicle that is not participating in the organised race or speed trial.

The TAC defines an organised professional race or speed trial as one where the race or speed trial is clearly professional in nature, such as a race organised or sanctioned by the Union Cycliste International (UCI) or a member body event featuring professional and semi-professional riders that are engaged in cycling as a paid occupation.  For further information, please refer to the TAC’s ‘Pedal Cycle Sport Accident Policy.’ or contact the TAC

Travel and accommodation benefits

Immediate family members of a TAC client who is an inpatient in hospital can claim the reasonable travel and accommodation expenses incurred as a result of visiting a TAC client in hospital, if the family member resides more than 100km away from the hospital.  The cap on this benefit has been extended to $20,000 per claim, which all immediate family members who have not previously accessed this cap may now be entitled to.  View the travel and accommodation policy.

Loss of wages payments for parents of an injured child in hospital

The TAC now provides a loss of wages payment for a parent who cannot attend work while they visit their dependent child while they are an inpatient in hospital.  This support is capped at $10,000 and applies per child (that is, if two parents require income support the $10,000 is shared between them) for all transport accidents that occur on or after 26 September 2018.  This benefit is not available for the first five working days a parent incurs the loss of wages; parents should access their leave entitlements from their employer for these days unless they have sustained acute financial hardship if a payment was not made.  View the loss of wages for parents of injured children policy.

Overseas attendant care

The TAC provides attendant care to our clients when they travel overseas for up to eight weeks per year.  This amendment will now include an additional four weeks of overseas attendant care services for a TAC client if they are required to travel overseas during the course of their employment, in addition to the eight weeks of overseas attendant care that may already be provided.  View the attendant care policy

Immediate family members (grandparents)

Grandparents have now been included in the definition of ‘member of the immediate family’ in the TA Act for the purposes of accessing travel, accommodation and family counselling benefits.  Now, grandparents will also be considered to be an immediate family member of a TAC client for the purposes of the TA Act, for all transport accidents that occur on or after 26 September 2018.

Including apprentices as dependent children

Apprentices who are under 25 years of age and are financially dependent on a person who dies as a result of a transport accident will now be considered as a ‘dependent child’ for the purposes of providing dependency benefits under the TA Act.  This change provides consistency with how the dependency provisions of the TA Act are applied to full-time students of the same age, for all transport accidents on or after 26 September 2018.  View the surviving dependent child policy.

Reviewing loss of earnings capacity

The TAC is no longer required to review the loss of earnings capacity of our long-term clients every five years on a mandatory basis. Mandatory reviews can be cumbersome, stressful and unnecessary for TAC clients with severe injuries, including those with a high degree of permanent impairment who have no capacity to return to work. This amendment will now provide the TAC with a discretion to undertake reviews of this nature, rather than a mandated obligation if the circumstances demonstrate that a review is not necessary.   Detail on when and how the TAC will conduct a review can be found on the TAC’s Loss of Earnings Capacity policy online.  View the loss of earnings capacity policy.

Payment of financial administration costs:

The TAC can now pay the Tribunal or Court approved costs incurred by a TAC client’s court or tribunal appointed professional financial administrator, if the professional administrator incurs these costs in respect  of a TAC client’s no-fault compensation. View the financial administration policy.

For more information contact the Policy team at policy@tac.vic.gov.au.