Bill's Media Releases

Next steps in modernising Federal Workers’ Compensation Scheme

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, today released the report from the Review of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (the SRC Act).

The Gillard Government commissioned the review to ensure that injured workers covered by the SRC Act and Comcare Scheme receive the care they need to recover quickly and return to work as soon as possible.

“Workplace injuries can take a terrible toll on workers and their families, and can cause a loss of productivity and morale in a workplace,” Mr Shorten said.

“The Gillard Government is determined to create a best practice workers compensation scheme in the Commonwealth jurisdiction.”

“It is vital that the Comcare Scheme is focused on early and effective intervention to promote recovery of injured workers.”

“It is also critical that employers and Comcare are pro-active in supporting injured workers from the point of injury, during rehabilitation and when they return to work.”

The review by Dr Allan Hawke AC and Mr Peter Hanks QC found a number of areas where the SRC Act and Comcare Scheme are working well but also found opportunities to modernise its operation.

Modernisation would bolster the focus on early intervention and rehabilitation for the benefit of workers, employers and the overall performance of the scheme.

The report sets out 33 recommendations by Dr Hawke to improve the performance, governance and funding framework of the Comcare scheme and 104 recommendations from Mr Hanks to update and improve the SRC Act and address anomalies in the current legislation.

“The report provides a range of ideas on ways to improve the operation of the Comcare Scheme while ensuring benefits remain fair and equitable for injured workers, especially those more seriously injured and incapacitated,” Mr Shorten said.

“I want to thank Dr Hawke and Mr Hanks for their work and everyone else who contributed to the review.”

“Over the next period, I will be consulting with scheme stakeholders on the recommendations. These consultations will help inform our response to the Review to build a strong and effective rehabilitation and compensation system for workers in the Comcare Scheme.”

The SRC Act and Comcare Scheme cover Australian Government workers, employees of the ACT Government and a small number of private corporations who self-insure under the Comcare Scheme.

The report is available online here: http://deewr.gov.au/safety-rehabilitation-and-compensation-act-review-0

Mr Shorten’s Media Contact: Jessica Lindell 0408 642 804