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Overview - Annual Report from Comcare

About Comcare

Comcare overview

Comcare is a Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (CAC Act) body. Each CAC Act body is:

  • a statutory authority (called a Commonwealth authority), or a company controlled by the Commonwealth (called a Commonwealth company)
  • established for a public purpose that holds money on its own account
  • in most cases, governed by a board of directors
  • legally financially separate from the Commonwealth
  • subject to a range of directors’ duties.

Comcare is established under the SRC Act and has a number of powers and functions conferred under the:

  • OHS Act—the protection of the health, safety and welfare at work of federal workers
  • SRC Act—an early and safe return to work and access to compensation for injured federal workers.

Comcare is also responsible for managing the Commonwealth’s asbestos-related claims liabilities under the ARC Act.

Comcare partners with federal workers, their employers and unions to keep workplaces healthy and safe, and to reduce the incidence and cost of workplace injury and disease.

Comcare’s programs and services are used by more than 420 000 workers. These include:

  • employees of Australian Government agencies and authorities
  • national companies licensed by the Commission
  • members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF)— when not at war—including reservists and cadets
  • employees of the Australian Capital Territory Government
  • Australian workers making claims against the Commonwealth for asbestos-related conditions.

These workers are in a range of industries including government services, transport and logistics, financial and banking services, construction, telecommunications, defence and postal services.

The Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority

The Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (Seacare Authority) assists the Australian maritime industry in minimising the human and financial costs of workplace injury. The Seacare Authority does not have its own staff. Under section 72A of the SRC Act, Comcare is required to assist the Seacare Authority in the performance of its functions.

On behalf of the Seacare Authority, Comcare:

  • provides secretariat, policy and strategic support to the Seacare Authority, and assistance in implementing its decisions
  • administers Seacare scheme legislation and monitoring the operation of such legislation
  • manages the annual appropriation for supporting the Seacare function
  • monitors, and reports on, Seacare scheme performance
  • prepares an annual report to parliament
  • reports to the Minister
  • liaises and communicates with Seacare scheme stakeholders and other like regulators
  • promotes the objectives of the Seacare scheme, particularly the reduction of the human and financial costs of workplace injury in the Australian maritime industry.

Ethical standards , social access and equity

Comcare continues to promote the importance of the Australian public Service Values and Code of Conduct, as specified in the Public Service Act 1999 (Public Service Act). These are readily accessible to all staff through the intranet.

Comcare has an Ethics Contact Officer who is able to provide staff with information and advice about ethical issues. The Ethics Contact Officer also raises awareness within Comcare and is a member of the Australian public Service Commission’s Ethics Contact Officer Network.

Comcare works in partnership with employers and employees as they create safe and healthy workplaces and assist injured workers. In this role, Comcare has contact with thousands of people each year. As a result, Comcare is committed to ensuring its services and operations fulfil the principles of social access and equity. The following points demonstrate some of Comcare’s activities in these areas during 2010–11:

  • all Comcare publications and other information about Comcare’s services can be accessed through the Comcare website
  • the website provides direction to translating and interpreting services available in 15 languages
  • the public can access any area of Comcare through the call centre on 1300 366 979 or by completing an online inquiry form
  • Comcare mails publications and other information directly to interested people.

Service charter

In early 2011, Comcare redesigned the service delivery model we use in supporting injured workers and managing workers’ compensation claims. This, coupled with our Comcare Regulation policy and first Work Health and Safety plan, has helped us to ensure that members of the Comcare community have clear expectations on how we will work both with and for them.

With our defined service models now in place, we will finalise our new service charter early in the 2011–12 financial year. There will be a strong focus in the new service charter about working with our community. In particular, our new service charter will show our commitment to:

  • working with others to prevent harm in their workplace so that they and others can return home safely to their family and community
  • helping if things go wrong at a workplace
  • earning the trust and confidence of those in the Comcare scheme by being there when we are needed
  • regularly reporting on our performance.

We will measure our service against new Key Performance Indicators that will be in place next financial year. Our goal will not only be to fulfil our new charter but to continuously improve the services we deliver and the way in which we deliver them.