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On 11 April 2019 the Australian Government assumed a caretaker role, with an election to be held 18 May 2019.
Information on websites maintained by Comcare will be published in accordance with the Guidance on Caretaker Conventions until after the election and conclusion of the caretaker period.
In-house Facilitation is an assisted conversation between employees, employers and Comcare in dispute that encourages and supports the parties to reach an agreement. It aims to provide access to a timely, accessible and cost effective dispute resolution process. It allows the parties to generate options for the resolution of claim related disputes, return to work concerns and rehabilitation processes.
In-house Facilitation will be available after a determination or reviewable decision (a reconsideration) has been made on a claim within the provisions of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.
In-house Facilitation is managed by a Comcare officer who is also a qualified mediator. If an agreement is reached during the In-house Facilitation, this will be recorded and may replace the previously issued determination or reviewable decision. Participation in this process does not negate the employee and employer’s appeal rights in any way.
The process is free, voluntary and confidential and participants will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the start of a session to reflect this.
All requests for In-house Facilitation will be considered on their merits. Not all disputes will be suitable for facilitation.
More information about the different participants in In-house Facilitation can be found here:
- Information for Employees [PDF, 82KB]
- Information for Employers [PDF, 80KB]
- Information for Professional Advocates [PDF, 80KB]
- Information for Support Persons [PDF, 80KB]
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply for facilitation?
If you have recently received a determination or reviewable decision by Comcare in regard to your compensation claim that you do not agree with you can request consideration for facilitation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
What does the facilitator do?
Comcare has engaged qualified mediators who will manage the facilitation and assist those participating to generate options for resolution. The facilitators are impartial and focus solely on resolving the issues in dispute. They have both training and experience in dispute resolution and facilitations of this kind.
How can I prepare for facilitation?
It is important to prepare for the facilitation by being clear about the issues in dispute and the options for resolving them. The facilitator will talk to you about this prior to the facilitation occurring and will explore with you how each option for resolution may be applied.
Who attends the In-house Facilitation?
In addition to the facilitator, participants in the conversation include:
- You and your support person, advocate or lawyer (if you wish to bring either)
- A representative from the liable agency or employer
- A Comcare delegate who is able to negotiate a settlement of the matter
- In some circumstances, a member of the Comcare clinical panel or senior member from Claims Management may also attend. This will be discussed with you prior to the facilitation.
How much does it cost?
The process is free. Costs associated with travel to attend and participate will not form a part of your compensation claim. Engagement, attendance and participation of a professional advocate will be at your own cost and is not covered as part of any compensation claim.
Where will the facilitation occur?
Currently, facilitation is only available at Comcare’s Canberra and Melbourne offices.
Does participation in a facilitation affect my appeal to the AAT?
No, the facilitation is on offer as an alternative to the AAT to allow an opportunity to resolve the issues in dispute. If the facilitation results in a new agreement then the matter may be resolved, if not you are still able to appeal this decision at the AAT.
If you have a matter pending at the AAT your facilitation will not alter this. You will not have to begin again or wait longer.
Is the process confidential?
Yes, all parties involved in the facilitation will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the commencement of the facilitation which outlines that the details of the conversation will not be shared without agreement of the parties unless required under law.
Can I bring a support person?
You may bring a support person who can provide you with moral support during the facilitation. Please note that during the joint session, where the employer representative is also present your support person will not have an active or speaking role, however during breaks and in the private session, where you meet with the facilitator one on one, they may offer their perspective and ideas.
Can I bring my lawyer?
Yes. You may bring your lawyer however the costs associated with their attendance and participation will not be covered and cannot form part of your compensation claim.
What happens if we do not reach an agreement?
If you do not reach an agreement through this process the recent decision (reconsideration) and your options for appeal both stand.
If an agreement is reached how does this affect my claim?
If the facilitation reaches an agreement you have 7 days to consider it before it is concluded. If after the 7 days you are satisfied with the agreement it will form a part of Comcare’s final decision/reconsideration. If you decide you are not satisfied with the agreement the same appeal options are available to you as would be the case in any reconsideration.
To register your interest for In-House Facilitation please email email@example.com or phone the Disputed Claims team on 1300 366 979.