The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Improving the Comcare Scheme) Bill 2015

For: 

On 25 March 2015, the Minister for Employment, Senator Eric Abetz, introduced a Bill to amend the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988. This Act covers injured Australian Government workers and employees of corporations that hold a licence under the Act.

The Minister’s media release is available.

The Bill comprises the first major review of the Comcare scheme since it was established in 1988 and implements, in part or whole, the recommendations of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act reviews undertaken by Mr Peter Hanks QC and Dr Allan Hawke AC in 2012. Other changes have been the result of ongoing consultation and analysis of the scheme’s efficiency, viability and cost effectiveness.

In summary, the changes proposed in the Bill aim to:

  • improve return-to-work outcomes for injured workers;
  • put the focus on early intervention and better health outcomes for injured workers; and
  • improve the operation of the system by excluding injuries sustained in non-work activities outside work, excluding secondary psychological injuries from some payments and removing payment for non evidence-based treatments.

A summary of the changes can be found in the Fact Sheet.

Where can I find a copy of the Bill and explanatory information?

The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Improving the Comcare Scheme) Bill  is available on the Australian Parliamentary website. 

A detailed explanation of the changes can be found in the Explanatory Memorandum.

A plain English description of the changes can be found in the Second Reading Speech.

When will the changes take effect?

These changes will not come into effect until the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Improving the Comcare Scheme) Bill commences as an Act. 

As a Bill passes through Parliament, it is decided on its merits and not within specified timeframes.  This means that specific dates for the introduction of the changes proposed in the Bill cannot be known.

However, when the Bill does becomes legislation, the changes will take effect immediately or within 6 to 12 months.

How can I track the progress of the Bill through Parliament?

To view the progress of the Bill through Parliament, visit the Australian Parliamentary website.

Where can I find a copy of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act?

The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, in its current form, can be found on the Australian Government ComLaw website.

How will these changes affect me?

The Department cannot provide personal advice.  This list of Frequently Asked Questions may assist your understanding of the proposed changes.

What if I have further questions?

Email: workerscompensationpolicy@employment.gov.au
Workers’ Compensation Hotline: 13 17 15 (option 5)

Please note that the information provided by phone or email is of a general nature only. The Department cannot provide legal advice or speculative, personal or case-specific information.   

Where can I find further information once the Bill is passed?

Once the Bill has achieved successful passage through Parliament, further information will be available on Comcare’s website.