Driving injury insurance towards the needs of rural people

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

In August 2011 the Productivity Commission recommended the establishment of two schemes: the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS). The NIIS is to be a fully-funded insurance accident scheme, separate from the NDIS, in order to cover a broader range of health costs associated with catastrophic injuries, such as acute care and rehabilitation services.

The Australian Government is working with States and Territories to develop the NIIS as a federated model of separate, state-based no-fault schemes that provide lifetime care and support for people who have sustained a catastrophic injury caused by motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, medical accidents and general accidents (occurring in the home or community).

Support will be provided on a no-fault basis, significantly reducing legal disputes so that catastrophically injured people will benefit from early access to medical and disability care.

Comments were sought on Federal Treasury's paper about the motor vehicle accident 'stream' of a National Injury Insurance Scheme.

The Alliance made a brief submission to try to ensure that development of this part (and all other parts) of the NIIS comprehends the particular circumstances of people in rural and remote areas.

People living in rural and remote Australia who have incurred a catastrophic traumatic brain injury invariably obtain high quality acute medical attention in major metropolitan specialist hospitals. However, after acute management is concluded, and upon returning to their home communities, there is a dearth of capacity for continuing specialist brain injury rehabilitation in most States. NSW is the only jurisdiction which has been able to achieve a state-wide specialist service. This service model has a high degree of collaboration with the NSW Lifetime Care and Support Authority.

Like all others who experience catastrophic injury, people from rural and remote areas need access to specialised services which focus on the cognitive, psychological, behavioural and physical aspects of rehabilitation. These services provide the strong base and support for successful re-entry to community and relationships, to employment, and to successful navigation for ‘living with a changed life’.

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