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Commonwealth Workers' Compensation

Comcare Scheme

The Commonwealth's workers' compensation scheme is known as the Comcare Scheme. The scheme is named after Comcare, a corporate Commonwealth entity established by the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) ('SRC Act').

Criteria apply to claims made under the Comcare Scheme. The criteria vary depending on the nature of the employee's employment. Subject to satisfying relevant criteria, the scheme provides:
  • compensation and other benefits to, or for the benefit of, injured employees
  • compensation for loss of, or damage to, certain property used by employees
  • rehabilitation programs to injured employees
  • compensation and other benefits to, or for the benefit of, dependants of employees whose injuries result in death.
There are 2 types of employment covered by the Comcare Scheme:
  • employment by the Commonwealth, other than by a licensed authority -- claims relating to this type of employment are called Comcare Claims in this chapter
  • employment by either a licensed authority or an licensed corporation -- claims relating to this type of employment are called Licensee Claims in this chapter.
For information about Comcare Claims and Licensee Claims, see [Summary of Eligibility and Entitlements], this chapter

Other Commonwealth Schemes

Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme

The Commonwealth's military-specific workers' compensation scheme is known as the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme.

Criteria apply to claims made under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme. The criteria vary depending on when defence service was rendered. Subject to satisfying relevant criteria, the scheme provides:
  • compensation and other benefits to, or for the benefit of, injured members of the Australian Defence Force ('ADF')
  • compensation for loss of, or damage to, certain property used by ADF members
  • rehabilitation programs to injured ADF members
  • compensation and other benefits to, or for the benefit of, dependants of ADF members whose injuries result in death.
There are 2 periods of service covered by the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Scheme: Certain defence service rendered prior to 1 July 2004 is also covered by the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (Cth) (see [Veterans' Entitlements]).

Seacare Scheme

Whilst Comcare has some functions under the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (Cth), employees to whom that Act applies are not covered by the Comcare Scheme. Rather, they are covered by what is known as the Seacare Scheme, which is similar but not identical to the Comcare Scheme. For more information about the Seacare Scheme, and the Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority which oversees the scheme, see seacare.gov.au.

Parliamentary Injury Compensation Scheme

Comcare has the function of determining and managing claims for compensation and damages in accordance with the Parliamentary Injury Compensation Scheme ('PICS') established under the Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990 (Cth), which is based on the Comcare Scheme. For more information about the PICS, see comcare.gov.au/the_scheme/pics.

Asbestos-related Claims for Compensation and Damages

Comcare also has the function of responding to claims for compensation and damages in accordance with the Asbestos-related Claims (Management of Commonwealth Liabilities) Act 2005 (Cth) ('ARC Act'). For more information, and in particular regarding the interaction of the ARC Act with the Comcare Scheme, see comcare.gov.au/the_scheme/asbestos_legal.

Summary of Eligibility and Entitlements

Certain terms (words and expressions) used in the SRC Act can have either their defined or ordinary meaning as interpreted by the courts. Where a term appears in bold italics in the remainder of this chapter, such as injury or significant degree, the term is intended to have a specific meaning. Otherwise, the term is intended to have its ordinary meaning.

For information about a particular term, see Glossary of Terms, at the end of this chapter.

This section summaries eligibility and entitlements relating to 3 scenarios:

Injury Not Resulting in Death

To determine whether compensation, rehabilitation or other benefits, are available to, or for the benefit of, an injured employee, the following questions may be considered:
  1. Was the person an employee [at the relevant time]? See [Employee and Employment], this chapter.
  2. Has the employee suffered an injury? See [Injury, Disease and Aggravation], this chapter.
  3. Has notice of the injury been given to the relevant authority? See [Notice of Injury, Loss or Damage], this chapter.
  4. Has a valid claim been given to the relevant authority? See [Claims for Compensation], this chapter.
  5. Is the injury compensable? For example:
    • Has the injury resulted in incapacity for work or impairment?
    • Has medical treatment been obtained in relation to the injury?
    • Has the employee obtained household services or attendant care services as a result of the injury?
      See [Compensation] and [Rehabilitation], this chapter.
  6. Is the relevant authority prevented from paying compensation? For example:
    • Was the injury intentionally self-inflicted, or caused by the serious and wilful misconduct of the employee?
    • Has the employee recovered damages in respect of the injury?
    • Has the employee recovered State workers' compensation in respect of the injury?
      See [Exclusion, Preclusion and Suspension], this chapter.
  7. Has the relevant authority made a determination of its liability to pay an amount of compensation? See [Investigation and Determination], this chapter.
  8. If a determination has been made, what options are available? See [Reconsideration], this chapter.
  9. If a reviewable decision has been made, what options are available? See [Merits Review], this chapter.
  10. If any other kind of decision has been made, what options are available? See [Judicial Review], this chapter.

An employee who has suffered an injury in respect of which compensation is payable may be entitled to the following:

Compensation or benefit How paid or provided Summary of conditions
rehabilitation program provided by the rehabilitation authority or [approved program provider]
and paid for by the relevant authority
the injury must result in either:
  • incapacity for work
  • impairment
and the rehabilitation authority must exercise its discretion to make a determination that the employee should undertake a rehabilitation program, having regard to any written assessment of the employee's capability of undertaking a rehabilitation program and other prescribed matters

Injury Resulting in Death

Accident Not Resulting in Injury

Glossary of Terms

For information about one of the following terms, click on that term:
  • aggravation
  • ailment
  • attendant care services
  • claim
  • damages
  • defendant (see also dependent)
  • dependent
  • determination
  • disease
  • employee
  • judicial review
  • household services
  • injury (see also catastrophic injury)
  • impairment
  • incapacity for work
  • medical treatment
  • merits review
  • notice
  • property used by an employee
  • rehabilitation authority
  • rehabilitation program
  • relevant authority
  • responsible authority
  • reviewable decision
  • significant degree
  • State workers' compensation
-- BenMason - 11 Oct 2017
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