The Comcare scheme:
- works in partnership with employers and their employees to prevent workplace injuries
- appropriately uses regulatory sanctions for any demonstrable failure of the employer’s duty of care
- empowers employers to work with their employees to maintain an employee with a workplace injury at work, or to achieve an early, safe and durable return to work
- provides employees with a workplace injury with a statutory package of economic and non-economic benefits.
The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) provides the legislative framework for the Comcare scheme. The SRC Act establishes Comcare and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC), and sets out the functions and powers of these bodies.
Comcare has functions and responsibilities under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act). The main object of the WHS Act is to provide for a balanced and nationally consistent framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces.
Roles and responsibilities
Comcare is the statutory authority established under the SRC Act, and with the SRCC we administer the Commonwealth’s statutory framework for rehabilitation and workers’ compensation.
Comcare’s role is to support participation and productivity through healthy and safe workplaces that minimise the impact of harm in workplaces covered by Comcare.
Comcare also has functions and responsibilities under the Asbestos-related Claims (Management of Commonwealth Liabilities) Act 2005.
Comcare provides advice and services to the SRCC and the Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (Seacare Authority).
Comcare is the national work health and safety regulator under the federal WHS Act.
More information is available in the About Comcare and About the SRCC sections of each annual report (pages 10 and 66 respectively).
The following tables provide an overview of the Comcare scheme’s performance at 30 June 2017. The tables include performance in 2016–17 compared to 2015–16. All data in these tables were extracted on 25 July 2017, unless otherwise indicated (refer to WHS notifications).
|Under WHS Act||406,810||410,634|
|Australian Government (WHS Act)*||185,749||187,726|
|Australian Defence Force||62,149||62,000|
|Under SRC Act||375,954||388,377|
|Australian and ACT Governments (SRC Act)*||208,228||209,552|
*The difference between Australian Government (WHS Act) and, Australian and ACT Governments (SRC Act) is represented in Figure 1.
Incidence of claims lodged*
|Australian and ACT Governments (SRC Act)||13.5||11.6|
Incidence of accepted claims*
|Australian and ACT Governments (SRC Act)||9.6||8.1|
Incidence of serious claims*
|Australian and ACT Governments (SRC Act)||5.9||5.1|
Total number of compensable deaths
|Australian and ACT Governments (SRC Act)||9||16|
*All incidence rates are per 1000 FTE employees.
Serious injury or illness
|Australian Government (WHS Act)||195||195|
|Australian Defence Force||180||180|
|Comcare’s WHS jurisdiction total||523||539|
|Australian Government (WHS Act)||391||395|
|Australian Defence Force||191||152|
|Comcare’s WHS jurisdiction total||852||781|
Notifiable worker fatalities
|Australian Government (WHS Act)||5||5|
|Australian Defence Force||3||5|
|Comcare’s WHS jurisdiction total||14||15|
*Notification data extracted on 24 July 2017.
Note: Not all Self-insured licensees within Comcare’s scheme are covered by the WHS Act.
Number of reconsideration requests received
|Australian and ACT Governments (SRC Act)||2024||2583|
Reconsideration affirmation rate3
|Comcare affirmation rate (premium payers)||83%||81%|
|Self-insured licensees affirmation rate||80%||83%|
|Scheme affirmation rate||82%||81%|
Number of AAT applications made
|Australian and ACT Governments (SRC Act)||714||916|
Median lost time (weeks)
|Australian and ACT Governments (SRC Act)||7.5||7.6|
Median lost time (weeks) injury claims
|Australian and ACT Governments (SRC Act)||5.3||5.7|
Median lost time (weeks) disease claims
|Australian and ACT Governments (SRC Act)||9.1||9.7|
1 Full time equivalent FTE employees.
2 As per Part 3 of the WHS Act.
3 Affirmation rate is the percentage of reviewable decisions that affirmed the original determination with a decision in the reporting period. Excludes initiated by own motion and withdrawn.