The applicant suffered a stroke at work and successfully applied to WorkCover for workers’ compensation on the basis that the stress he experienced at work was a significant contributing factor to his stroke. WorkCover obtained a doctor’s opinion that the stroke was caused by untreated hypertension, not work stress. WorkCover then purported to make a decision under s 168 of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003 (Qld) (WCRA) terminating the applicant’s entitlement to workers’ compensation. The applicant’s application for judicial review of that decision was successful and the decision was set aside.
The applicant subsequently requested an assessment under s 179 of the WCRA to decide if a degree of permanent impairment from the accepted injury was sustained. The returned assessment was 0% of permanent injury. Therefore, WorkCover issued a Notice of Assessment reflecting 1) the 0% degree of permanent impairment and informed the applicant that this meant he was not entitled to a lump sum compensation, and 2) that as the recent medical evidence confirmed he was no longer prevented from working his compensation payments must stop.
The applicant applied for a statutory order of review of these two decisions, firstly, the decision to issue a notice of assessment and, secondly, the decision to cease his compensation payments. In so far as the first decision the applicant sought: (a) an order quashing or setting aside the decision; and (b) an order directing the respondent to re-issue a notice of assessment stating that the degree of permanent impairment for the injury is 90%. In relation to the second decision, the applicant sought an order quashing or setting aside the decision.
WorkCover repealed both decisions, under s 24AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) and submitted that the application be dismissed. However, the applicant pressed for an order, under s 30(1)(d) of the Judicial Review Act 1991 (Qld), directing WorkCover to issue a notice of assessment stating permanent impairment was 90%; or alternatively, directing WorkCover to issue a notice of assessment, on the implied basis that it would do so by reference to part of the existing assessment.
The Court was not persuaded to grant the requested order.
Scott McLeod QC appeared for the respondent, instructed by Hall & Wilcox.
The judgment is published here.