External scrutiny

External audit

Comcare was not included in any Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) performance audits undertaken in 2015–16.

Ombudsman

Comcare received 20 formal investigation inquiries from the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Of all matters investigated in 2015–16, the Commonwealth Ombudsman decided that no further review of the matter was warranted and the complaint was closed.

Review of decisions

The following two decisions had a significant effect on Comcare’s operations under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act).

Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission v May [2016] HCA 19

This matter confirmed that ‘injury (other than a disease)’ and ‘disease’ comprise separate but related bases of liability under the SRC Act. The High Court confirmed that it is the nature and incidence of the physiological change that remains central to identifying an ‘injury (other than a disease)’ and that suddenness is often useful but not necessary to demonstrate. It was also found that subjectively experienced symptoms, without evidence of an accompanying physiological or psychiatric change, are not sufficient to demonstrate that an ‘injury (other than a disease)’ exists.

Martin v Comcare [2015] FCAFC 169

This matter concerns the interpretation of the phrase ‘as a result of’ in the reasonable administrative action exclusion in section 5A of the SRC Act. The Full Federal Court held that ‘as a result of’ does not require that the condition be a direct or intended result of the administrative action. The High Court granted special leave for Comcare to appeal the Full Federal Court’s decision on 16 May 2016 and the hearing date is 26 August 2016.