National Workers' Compensation Action Plan 2010-2013
Safe Work Australia’s Strategic Issues Group for Workers’ Compensation (SIG-Workers’ Compensation) held a forum on Workers’ Compensation in March 2010 to gauge the appetite for reform and identify areas where progress could be made.
The SIG-Workers’ Compensation used information gained at the forum to help develop a National Workers’ Compensation Action Plan 2010 – 2013 (the action plan). The action plan was endorsed by Safe Work Australia at its meeting in December 2010.
The SIG-Workers’ Compensation agreed on an approach which precludes the development of model legislation along the lines of the model legislation for work health and safety. The SIG-Workers’ Compensation also agreed that any changes to workers’ compensation arrangements should aim to achieve a reasonable balance between the interests of employers and workers, while at the same time:
- supporting effective and early return to work
- providing fair compensation for work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths
- reducing the overall social and economic costs to the community of work-related injuries, illness and fatalities, and
- ensuring that employer costs are equitably distributed and contained within reasonable limits.
Seven temporary advisory groups (TAGs) have been established, each consisting of representatives from the jurisdictions, unions and employer groups. Each TAG is investigating and reporting to SIG-Workers’ Compensation on policy options for improving national consistency in one workers’ compensation priority area. These are:
- nationally consistent tools and guidance on return to work matters
- nationally consistent arrangements for the assessment of permanent impairment
- nationally consistent definitions for the purposes of workers’ compensation
- nationally consistent death entitlements and determination of dependants
- nationally consistent approaches for multi-state employers
- nationally consistent approaches to self insurance, and
- nationally consistent approaches to the compensation of asbestos and other dust related diseases.