The Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Provisional Payments) Act 2020 (Provisional Payments Act) has received Royal Assent and will come into effect on a day to be proclaimed (expected to be 1 July 2021) or at the latest, 1 January 2022.
The Provisional Payments Act is a response from the Victorian Government to improve support for Victorian workers by introducing provisional payments for work-related mental injuries. 
From commencement, Victorian eligible workers and eligible volunteers can access reasonable treatment and services for work-related mental injuries, while their compensation claim(s) are being determined, and where claims are rejected, continue this access for up to 13 weeks. 

The average determination for a mental injury claim is 27 days compared to seven days for a physical injury. Provisional payments for mental injury will allow eligible workers to access reasonable treatment and services sooner.

The Provisional Payments Act amends the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (WIRC Act) and the Accident Compensation Act 1985 (AC Act).

As part of the amendments, employers will be required to provide early notification of mental injury claims to their Agent within three business days of receiving the claim. Agents will then need to determine if the claim is eligible to receive provisional payments within two business days.

The claimant should be able to receive payments for medical and like services after five business days of lodging their mental injury claim. Self-insurers will have five business days to determine a provisional payments claim.

Where employers (not including Self-insurers) do not meet early notification requirements, penalties will be applicable. The penalty provisions will commence on 1 January 2022.
Information about the Provisional Payments Act is available on WorkSafe’s website. It is also available on the Victorian Legislation website.