Chairperson's review

Image of Barry Sherriff
It gives me great pleasure to present my third report to the Minister for Employment, Senator the Honourable Michaelia Cash, and the Australian Parliament on the operations of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (the Commission) for the year ending 30 June 2016.

I would like to acknowledge the valuable contributions made by all Members; in particular, the contribution made by Andrea Shaw who left the Commission in the reporting period.

Strategic focus and plan

The Commission has a range of functions under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1998 (SRC Act) and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act). The Commission’s strategic focus is to ensure that it properly fulfills its statutory functions and obligations in a manner that is consistent with the Government’s agenda.

The Commission articulated this focus, its mission and vision as well as its strategic priorities for the reporting period through its Strategic Plan 2015–16 (Strategic Plan).

The Commission’s strategic priorities for 2015–16 were to:

  • inform key stakeholders on the Commission’s role and responsibilities
  • reduce regulatory burden on licensees
  • prepare for and respond to potential legislative changes to the SRC Act
  • prepare for and respond to potential transfer of Seacare function to the Commission and associated legislative changes
  • provide effective regulation and oversight
  • ensure validity of premium guidelines in the current financial and legislative context
  • implement and evaluate performance against the Australian Government’s Regulator Performance Framework
  • provide a forum for WHS consultation between Comcare and persons conducting businesses or undertakings, workers and the bodies that represent them.

I am pleased to report that the Commission undertook a range of activities to achieve outcomes against these seven key priorities in 2015–16, the key points of which are set out below.

Reducing the regulatory burden on business

The Commission contributed towards the Government’s agenda to reduce regulatory burden on business by continuing its review of the regulation of self-insured licensees (licensees) under the SRC Act.

In 2015–16, the Commission endorsed the new Licence Compliance and Performance Model. The new model, effective from 1 July 2016, will produce savings to licensees, while still achieving strong and improving performance outcomes. Further work on transitioning to the model will take place in 2016–17.

Additional information on the Commission’s Licence Compliance and Performance Model can be found below.

Regulator performance framework

As the regulator of self-insured licensees under the SRC Act, the Commission is required to implement the Government’s Regulator Performance Framework (RPF). In 2015–16, the Commission completed its first self-assessment against its endorsed RPF key performance indicators. The self-assessment will be published on the Commission’s website later this year.

Preparation for legislative change

To progress the proposed amendments to the SRC Act, the Government introduced the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 into Parliament on 19 March 2014 and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Improving the Comcare Scheme) Bill 2015 on 25 March 2015. These Bills lapsed in 2016.

Self-insurance applications, extensions and variations

In this reporting period, the Commission granted licences to Wilson Security Pty Ltd and StarTrack Express Pty Ltd.

During the course of 2015–16, 16 licence extension applications and 30 applications for variation of licence were considered and approved by the Commission.

Ensure vaildity of premium guidelines

The Commission reviewed and endorsed new Premium Determination Guidelines under section 97E of the SRC Act. These Guidelines will apply to the determination of 2017–18 premiums by Comcare.

Strategic risk register

The Commission manages current and emerging risks through its Strategic Risk Register. In 2015–16, the Commission revamped both the register and the way in which it is reviewed to ensure it remains current and effective.

Finally, I would like to thank the staff of Comcare for their professional support, guidance and assistance.

Barry Sherriff