Collaborative partnership home

News from the Collaborative Partnership

Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine conference

10 Jun 2020

Professor Niki Ellis presented at the Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine (ANZSOM) conference, showcasing the significant work the Partnership has undertaken since its foundation in 2017, including the development of Australia’s first national principles on the role of general practitioners (GPs) in supporting work participation. Since this presentation, the Principles on the role of the GP in supporting work participation have been officially recognised by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners as a Supported Position Statement and are available on our website.

To hear Prof Ellis talk about the GP Principles, and other projects of the Partnership, click here to view the webcast.

read more

The Collaborative Partnership Newsletter – March 2020

01 Apr 2020

Please see the March edition of the Collaborative Partnership Newsletter for the latest information and recent achievements of the Collaborative Partnership.

read more

Australia’s first national principles for GPs to support work participation

26 Mar 2020

The Principles on the role of the GP in supporting work participation was released today by the Collaborative Partnership.

The Principles will help general practitioners (GPs) with their role in supporting work participation for people with a disability or health condition. The publication is designed to support anyone with a health condition or disability that impacts their ability to work, including people that are accessing support from any benefits and income support system.

The publication was developed following extensive consultation with GPs and health professionals, the disability sector, unions, employers, employee representatives, benefits and income support providers and academics.

The Principles on the role of the GP in supporting work participation has been officially recognised as a Supported Position Statement by The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Led by the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the Project is a key initiative of the Collaborative Partnership to improve work participation.

For more information, please go to Projects.

read more

NDIA joins the Collaborative Partnership

24 Mar 2020

The Collaborative Partnership is excited to announce that the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has officially joined the national alliance to improve work participation for Australians with a health condition or disability.

In implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the NDIA is supporting a better life for hundreds of thousands of Australians with a significant and permanent disability and their families and carers. The NDIA brings significant expertise and experience in the disability sector, including its recent release of the NDIS Participant Employment strategy, which aims to have 30 per cent of working age NDIS participants in paid employment by 30 June 2023.

Past research from the Collaborative Partnership has shown most people have a strong desire to work however, employers are unsure about how to accommodate people with health conditions or disability. The NDIA will provide valuable insight to help shape future priorities and support the Partnership to drive long-term change towards increasing work participation of people with disability. Particularly in relation to changing attitudes about employment of people with health conditions or disability and building the skills and capabilities of employers.

NDIA is the eighth partner of the Partnership and joins Comcare; the ACTU; EML; Insurance Council of Australia (ICA); Department of Education, Skills and Employment; Department of Social Services; and the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM).

read more

New research to empower people with a health condition or disability

12 Dec 2019

The latest Collaborative Partnership research report addresses an important gap in evidence on empowerment strategies for people with a health condition or disability to use work as part of their recovery.

The Employee Awareness and Empowerment Project aims to improve work participation by empowering people to participate in their recovery and management of their health condition or disability.

Study participants shared their experiences in navigating Australia’s benefit and income support systems, their interactions with employers and service providers, and their perspectives on empowerment interventions, such as support, work accommodations and goal setting.

Work accommodations (changes in the workplace or the way work is done) and mentorship (ongoing guidance and support) were considered to be the most effective empowerment interventions.

Led by EML, the research showed that while employee empowerment is complex, it can lead to better health and economical outcomes for individuals, families, the community and Australian workplaces. For more information, read the full Employee Awareness and Empowerment Report or the Research Snapshot with key findings.

read more

Next steps with the Collaborative Partnership

30 Oct 2019

Key decision makers have come together in Canberra to discuss the future strategy of the Collaborative Partnership to improve work participation.

New initiatives with a focus on people, systems, data and culture change were high on the agenda as the Partnership looks to build on what it’s learned so far to inform its future strategy.

There have been some major highlights in the work the Partnership has delivered to date, including a greater understanding of the challenges found in Australia’s benefit and income support systems, and the attitudes and beliefs of people, employers and GPs.

The Partnership has a bold strategy that will focus on breaking down barriers in our systems and culture for the hundreds of thousands of Australians that are prevented from working due to ill health or disability.

Find out more information about our past projects.

read more

Research paves the way for improving work opportunities

20 Dec 2018

The Employer Mobilisation Report provides fresh insights into overcoming employment barriers for Australians whose work opportunities are limited by injury, illness or disability. The study, commissioned by the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business as part of the Collaborative Partnership to improve work participation, examined employer behaviours, attitudes and intentions towards hiring and retaining people with health conditions that impact their ability to work.

read more

Collaborative Partnership and Monash University research published: Work Disability in Australia: An Overview of Prevalence, Expenditure, Support Systems and Services

19 Dec 2018

On 29 October 2018 the following research article was published in the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation. The authors acknowledged the role of the Collaborative Partnership in commissioning the research that led to some of the findings reported in the article.

read more

Showcasing the Collaborative Partnership on the international stage

17 Dec 2018

Roundtable with Minister 

Improving work participation by people with ill health, injury or disability is not just a priority for Australia. On a recent trip to Canada, Dr Robin Chase from the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine had the opportunity to engage with representatives of other countries about work participation.

Dr Chase is the lead for the GP Support Project and represents the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine on the Collaborative Partnership committee. He was in Canada to present on the Collaborative Partnership to delegates at the International Forum on Disability Management in Vancouver, Canada. The conference theme was Challenges and Innovations for Workforce Health.

During his visit, Dr Chase heard about other countries’ activities to improve work participation by people with ill health, injury or disability.

Pictured: Back row: Sylvia Teo (Singapore), Graham Halsey (UK), Donal McAnaney (Ireland), Robin Chase (Australia), Hafez Hassain (Malaysia), Friedrich Mehrhoff (Germany)
Front row: Joachim Breuer (President of ISSA, Geneva), Minister Carla Qualtrough (Canada), Wolfgang Zimmermann (Canada), Francois Perl (Belgium)

Dr Chase reported that Australia is facing the same challenges as other countries, such as fragmentation of systems, services and efforts to improve outcomes. “Clearly there are problems around the world, not least in Australia” he said.

Some countries are positively working towards improvement. “I was struck by the positive role and cooperation, notably in Canada, Germany and Belgium between the various systems and the close cooperation with the various union movements.”

"I do believe that the Collaborative Partnership is innovative and there is nothing like it being attempted in any of the countries that presented.”

While at the conference, Dr Chase was invited to participate in an international disability roundtable discussion with the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s Federal Minister for Public Services, Procurement and Accessibility, and a group of other international delegates. The roundtable shared relevant country specific and international perspectives on overall approaches to disability policy development and specific strategies designed to increase work participation for people with disability. This was an opportunity to share work of other national programs and initiatives, such as the NDIS, as well as provide more information about the Collaborative Partnership.

read more

Sharing the Collaborative Partnership nationally

12 Dec 2018

Jennifer Taylor, CEO Comcare 

The Collaborative Partnership releases new research to drive better health and work outcomes

2018 Comcare National Conference—The Collaborative Partnership Chair Jennifer Taylor shared commissioned research that mapped the major compensation/benefit systems in Australia and identified the flow of people between these systems.

Dr Ross Iles from Monash University shared the findings from the Cross-Sector Project Research Report with delegates at the 2018 Comcare National Conference in September. The research shows that 786,000 people who were unable to work due to ill health, injury or disability received income support from a commonwealth, state, territory or private source. An additional 6.5 million people accessed employer provided leave entitlements for short periods of work incapacity. Many of these people move through the various income support systems, but as the systems operate in virtual isolation from each other, it is challenging to provide appropriate support for people or improvement to systems.

Pictured: Jennifer Taylor (CEO Comcare)

The research highlights the need for a collaborative cross-sectoral approach to better support people with health conditions moving through the various income support systems and where the best opportunities for improvements lie. The presentation was followed by a panel discussion facilitated by Natalie Bekis, GM of Strategic Research and Innovation at Comcare.

Panel members (pictured below) shared the insights and experiences that led them to join the Collaborative Partnership and what it has been like to be part of a cross-sectoral collaborative effort to effect change.

Collaborative Partnership Panel

Left to right: Dr Ross Iles (Senior Research Fellow, Monash University), Jennifer Taylor (CEO Comcare), Martin Hehir (Deputy Secretary Department of Jobs and Small Business), Mark Coyne (Chief Executive, EML), Jillian Moses (Branch Manager, Department of Social Services), Veronica Black (Professional Officer WHS, ACTU)

Collaborative Partnership featured at Personal Injury and Education Forum (PIEF) National Conference

Comcare CEO Jennifer Taylor presented on the Collaborative Partnership to delegates at the PIEF Disability Management National Conference on 17 October 2018. The conference theme was The Future is Now. Jennifer highlighted the research commissioned by the Collaborative Partnership, the exciting initiatives inspired by the research recommendations, and the opportunity to join the Collaborative Partnership as Associate or Project Partners by contributing financial or in-kind resources.

There was significant interest in the Partnership and its approach, and Jennifer provided further information about the Partnership to interested delegates after her presentation.

read more

A new evidence base to drive better health and work outcomes

30 Apr 2018

The Collaborative Partnership has released research which, estimates the scale and cost of health-related work incapacity in Australia, and examines ways to improve it.

The Cross Sector Project: Mapping Australian Systems of Income Support for People with Health Related Work Incapacity is also the first research to look at a number of major compensation and benefit systems to identify the flow of people through them, how the systems interact, and where they can be improved to deliver better health and productivity outcomes.

The study, by Monash University researchers, mapped 10 major systems of income support in Australia: employer provided entitlements; workers’ compensation (short tail and long tail schemes); motor vehicle accident compensation (lump sum and statutory benefits); life insurance (income protection and total and permanent disability schemes); defence and veterans’ compensation and pensions; superannuation; and social security.

Researchers estimated 786 000 Australians who were unable to work due to ill health, injury or disability received some form of income support from a commonwealth, state, territory or private source in 2015–16, totalling around $18 billion.

This offers a new evidence base to drive initiatives to improve health and work productivity outcomes by better aligning benefit systems through a national collaborative effort.

Potential improvements identified through this report include better information and data sharing to provide greater understanding of the systems of income support. There are also opportunities for better aligning service models, particularly through reforming GP certification and work capacity assessment, to reduce overlap and improve service delivery.

The Cross Sector report was commissioned by the Collaborative Partnership to Improve Work Participation—a unique public-private sector initiative that aims to deliver sustainable benefits for Australia’s working age population.

The Monash research is part of a range of Partnership projects that are working across sectors including workers’ compensation, life insurance, superannuation, disability support and employment services to improve disability employment and return to work rates for people experiencing work incapacity through illness and injury.

The Partnership is considering the report’s recommendations and working towards addressing the opportunities for change. Members are already examining ways to improve data sharing between the various compensation and benefit systems to get a better understanding of how they interact and how they can work together more effectively.

If you have any difficulties accessing the report please email CollaborativePartnershipSecretariat@comcare.gov.au.

read more

Comcare launches the Collaborative Partnership

24 Apr 2018

On 7 March 2018, at the Insurance Council of Australia’s Annual Forum in Sydney, the Collaborative Partnership to improve work participation was publicly launched by Comcare’s CEO Jennifer Taylor. The Minister for Small and Family Business the Workplace and Deregulation, the Hon Craig Laundy also spoke  at the launch of the Partnership.

Too many Australians with health conditions struggle to find work, recover at work or return to work. The Collaborative Partnership to improve work participation is focused on aligning the various sectors of Australia’s work disability system to deliver better outcomes for people with temporary or permanent physical or mental health conditions.

The Partnership is working across sectors including workers’ compensation, life insurance, superannuation, disability support and employment services to improve disability employment and return to work rates for people experiencing work incapacity through illness and injury.

The Partnership has identified priority areas and work is underway on projects looking at data and services, employer and employee attitudes and developing consistent supports for GPs.

Through a cross-system view and a collaborative approach we have the opportunity to improve health and productivity for a large number of working age Australians. Increasing work participation nationally is not something any government or organisation can solve alone. We can only deliver sustainable change by working together.

Is your organisation or sector involved in supporting work participation? Get involved

read more

Media release: Partnership takes national approach to work participation

24 Apr 2018

A unique public-private sector initiative is driving new approaches to improving participation for Australians with health conditions that affect their ability to work.

Media Release on Comcare website.

read more

Video: Comcare CEO launches the Collaborative Partnership

24 Apr 2018

On 7 March 2018, at the Insurance Council of Australia’s Annual Forum in Sydney, the Collaborative Partnership to improve work participation was publicly launched by Comcare’s CEO Jennifer Taylor.

Link to video

read more