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Rehabilitation is about achieving an early and durable recovery at and return to work following an injury.

Under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act), the employer has the responsibility and authority to manage the return to work of their injured employees and is referred to as the ‘rehabilitation authority’. For current employees, this is their current Commonwealth employer, and for ex-employees, their rehabilitation authority is their last Commonwealth employer.

A rehabilitation authority may use an approved workplace rehabilitation provider to develop and implement a rehabilitation program or it may provide the rehabilitation program for the employee itself.

Comcare supports the rehabilitation authority to manage this process and make sure the claim is managed effectively.

Guidelines for rehabilitation authorities

The Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities 2012 (the Guidelines) came into effect on 1 July 2012. The Guidelines offer an approach to rehabilitation designed to achieve better rehabilitation processes and outcomes and better practice across the scheme.  The Guidelines clarify the roles and responsibilities of rehabilitation authorities and their delegates in the return to work process.

Comcare has commenced consultation on proposed new Guidelines for Rehabilitation Authorities. For more information and if you would like to provide feedback on the draft please visit scheme consultations.

Changes to the interpretation of who is a rehabilitation authority

To find out more about changes to the interpretation of who is a rehabilitation authority, see changes to the interpretation of who is a Rehabilitation Authority (FAQs)—this is relevant to injured employees in a Commonwealth or ACT government agency who move to another one, but still need rehabilitation.

Rehabilitation Handbook

The Rehabilitation Handbook helps rehabilitation case managers operating under the SRC Act. It covers all aspects of the rehabilitation and injury management process.

The handbook supports a holistic approach to rehabilitation and promotes equity, consistent service provision and improved rehabilitation outcomes for injured employees. It is structured to follow the typical rehabilitation pathway—from the time of injury and early intervention through to approved workplace rehabilitation provider referral and assessment, rehabilitation program development and monitoring, case closure and follow up.

Support for the Guidelines

Comcare offers a range of tools to help employers, employees, rehabilitation case managers and approved workplace rehabilitation providers in understanding their roles under the new Guidelines.

Case management support documentation


The following forms should be used with the new Guidelines.

Rehabilitation management system

Rehabilitation authorities are required to develop and maintain a rehabilitation management system that meets the rehabilitation performance standards and measures, and the needs of employees. This system provides a framework for employers to meet their legislative obligations and provide effective rehabilitation services to their employees.

The effectiveness of a workplace rehabilitation management system is best maintained through an ongoing program with the following elements:

  • commitment and corporate governance
  • planning
  • implementation
  • measurement and evaluation
  • review and improvement.

These elements form the basis of the performance standards and measures contained in the Guidelines.

One of the requirements in the Guidelines is that rehabilitation authorities must conduct an audit of their rehabilitation management system and complete a Certificate of Compliance that should be made available to Comcare upon request.

Information on rehabilitation management system audits, including advice for small ‘low-risk’ agencies can be found on the following page:

Comcare also carries out workplace audits targeting rehabilitation and return to work systems.

Information on rehabilitation management systems, audits and related guidance can be found on the following pages:

Page last updated: 01 May 2019