03:50 pm, Tuesday 2 April, 2013
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten has released on Saturday the report from the Review of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (the SRC Act).
The government commissioned the review to ensure that injured workers covered by the Act and Comcare receive sufficient support to recover and return to work as quickly 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,” said Mr Shorten.
“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 proactive in supporting injured workers from the point of injury, during rehabilitation and when they return to work.”
The review was conducted by Dr Allan Hawke AC and Mr Peter Hanks QC and found a number of areas where the SRC Act and Comcare Scheme are being effective but also found opportunities to modernise its operation.
The report has 33 recommendations by Dr Hawke to improve performance, governance and funding framework of the Comcare scheme and 104 recommendations from Mr Hanks to update and improve the SRC Act and act on 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,” said Mr Shorten.
“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 for workers in the Comcare Scheme.”
Comcare welcomes the report and said amendments to federal laws have made the legislation complex.
“This is a great opportunity to get this right and improve outcomes for injured workers and scheme employers,” said Comcare in a media release.
The SRC Act and Comcare Scheme cover public sector workers, and a small number of private companies who self-insure under the Comcare Scheme.