Bill's Media Releases

Review of national compensation scheme for seafarers

The significant impact of workplace harm on seafaring workers and their families will be considered in a review of the Seafarers, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (SRC Act) announced by Minister for Workplace Relations Bill Shorten today.

Mr Shorten said the aim of this review is to modernise the federal seafarers workers’ compensation scheme, which has not been reviewed since it was established in 1992, to ensure it is working effectively and efficiently for Australia’s seafarers.

“The current coverage of Seacare is complex, resulting in uncertainties in determining which vessels are covered under Seacare and which are covered under the various state or territory workers’ compensation and occupational health and safety schemes,” Mr Shorten said.

“Federal Parliament recently passed important maritime industry reforms, including the Gillard Government’s Stronger Shipping for a Stronger Economy changes, and replacing the century-old Navigation Act to establish a single national maritime regulator.

“With the Government’s introduction of the national work health and safety laws, it is important to ensure Seacare continues to provide an effective framework for rehabilitation and compensation support to injured seafarers, and provides practical, clear and consistent OHS guidance to maritime operators.”

The review will be chaired by Mr Robin Stewart-Crompton, supported by a Secretariat in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Mr Stewart-Crompton was CEO of the former National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, and chaired the national review into Model Occupational Health and Safety Laws which led to the introduction of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

The review will consider four key aspects of the scheme:

  • The jurisdictional coverage of the Seacare Scheme;

  • The scope and necessity for amending and updating any legislative inconsistencies in the scheme;

  • The scope for amending the Seafarers Act to help reduce workers’ compensation premium costs; and

  • The governance arrangements for the Seacare Scheme.


The review will report to the Australian Government by 22 February 2013. It is the Government’s intention that the review will not consider any reduction in existing benefits afforded to workers covered by the Seacare scheme.

The Terms of Reference for the review are below.

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

                                            Review of the Seacare Scheme - Terms of Reference


 

The Australian Government aims to build a stronger, fairer Australia through improved productivity, national security, increased social inclusion and building community resilience.

 

As a result of major reforms to maritime legislation being undertaken by the Government, the Government’s strong support for the development of harmonised model work health and safety legislation, and the complexities of coverage, a comprehensive review of the Seacare Scheme is needed in order to clarify scheme coverage in addition to updating the scheme’s work health and safety and workers’ compensation provisions.

 

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that the Seacare Scheme provides a rigorous and harmonised work health and safety regime as well as fair and appropriate workers’ compensation arrangements for all workers covered by the scheme legislation.

 

The Australian Government believes that the Seacare Scheme should be best practice, and comparable to other Australian work health and safety and workers’ compensation schemes for people in the maritime industry.

 

The review will inquire and report on:

  • The coverage of the Seacare Scheme, including:

    • The interaction of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 (OHS(MI) with state and territory schemes and the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006;

    • A legislative framework for the Seacare Scheme that identifies the relevant coverage for a particular maritime activity; and

    • The availability and scope for exemptions from Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (Seafarers Act).



  • The scope and necessity for amending and updating any legislative inconsistencies in the Seacare Scheme, including:

    • Any provisions in the legislation which need to be updated; and

    • Ensuring consistency between the Seafarers Act and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act).

    • Legislative changes required to OHS(MI) to ensure consistency with the model work health and safety laws.



  • The scope for amending the Seafarers Act to help reduce workers’ compensation premium costs.

  • The governance arrangements for the Seacare Scheme.


 

The review of the Seacare Scheme will report by 22 February 2012.

 

It is the Government’s intention that the review will not consider any reduction in existing benefits afforded to workers covered by the Seacare Scheme.