These amendments will allow the Chief of Defence Force (CDF) to make a claim for liability for a current serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) member where they suffer a service injury or disease.
The establishment of liability is required in order to obtain compensation. These amendments to the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) should create a smoother mechanism for the claim of liability to be made where the person is a current ADF member. A claim will only be made on behalf of a member with the person’s consent.
Currently, section 320 of the MRCA enables a person to make a claim for liability for a service disease or injury. Generally the person who is affected must make the claim, however, in certain limited circumstances a claim may be made by another on their behalf.
These amendments are intended to streamline the claims process and reduce red-tape between the Department of Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and reduce overall time taken to process members’ subsequent claims for services and support in the future by dealing with liability early and efficiently.
Further, the amendments may alleviate some of the difficulties that may be encountered by veterans when making an initial claim for liability sometime after the injury was sustained or the disease contracted. Where the claim for liability is made reasonably contemporaneously as a result of being made by the CDF, there will likely be greater evidence available to support the claim, which will likely enable faster initial liability decisions to be made.
These amendments commence on the day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.