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Victoria silicosis compensation reforms take effect

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Victorian compensation reforms to assist workers and families affected by silicosis and similar progressive occupational diseases have come into force today.

The reforms mean eligible workers no longer need to prove that their injury has stabilised to access lump sum payments, while workers who have already received compensation for certain occupational diseases can apply for additional benefits if they develop a further related disease or injury.

Greater support is available to people who require a lung transplant due to a work-related injury and compensation for counselling services has been extended to families of workers with an eligible progressive disease.

Other reforms starting today provide extra support to families of a deceased worker.

These include extending weekly pension payments for children living with a disability from the age of 16 to the age of 25 to recognise financial dependency and the expectation that a parent would have provided ongoing support.

Reforms allow an appointed trustee to receive provisional payments on behalf of a person with a disability or a minor in order to minimise the economic harm resulting from the loss of the deceased worker’s income, while a family receiving household help services will continue to be provided with help for six months after a worker’s death.

Compensation will be available for costs incurred outside of Australia related to a funeral, burial, cremation, or repatriation of a deceased worker's body.

“Sadly, we know that silicosis and other related illnesses will continue to have a debilitating impact on far too many Victorian workers, and their families, for some time to come,” Workplace Safety Minister Ingrid Stitt said.

“That’s why we have strengthened the available support for affected workers, especially those who may have previously had difficulties in accessing the help they deserve due to the nature of this terrible disease.”

The Workplace Safety Legislation and Other Matters Amendment Act 2022 was passed by the Victorian Parliament earlier this year.