News

Project updates from the Collaborative Partnership and cross-sector news from our partners.


Read the latest news on our efforts to improve work participation outcomes for people living with a health condition or disability.

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Join the Collaborative Partnership at the 2022 Comcare National Conference in Canberra this June

21 Apr 2022

The Collaborative Partnership will be presenting an overview of the work completed under the 2020-2022 strategy, results achieved to date and insights and learnings from across the multiple income benefits systems throughout Australia.

The conference theme ‘Creating a safer workplace together’ combines the best of workplace health and safety knowledge and expertise in one place.

The two-day program includes keynote presentations, panel discussions and opportunities to hear from industry experts, including:

  • Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM, Resilience NSW
  • Christine Morgan, CEO, National Mental Health Commission
  • Hugh Van Cuylenburng, Founder, The Resilience Project
  • Georgeina Whelan AM, Commissioner, ACT Emergency Services Agency

The Comcare National Conference will be held on 7 and 8 June at the National Convention Centre in Canberra.

To participate, and hear from the Collaborative Partnership, purchase your tickets online now. Early bird prices apply until Sunday 8 May.

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The Collaborative Partnership Newsletter - March 2022

31 Mar 2022

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

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Early findings from Pillar One - measuring the movement of people between systems

30 Mar 2022

‘How and why people transition between Australia’s income support systems?’ was the question researchers at Monash University sought to answer in their recent study into the movement of people between systems.

As part of the research, Monash University surveyed 790 individuals, conducted 10 interviews with people who have interacted with one or more income support systems, and developed a systems dynamic data model to describe the inter-relationships between systems.

Early findings from the research include:

  • The most commonly used income support system is Centrelink (85.9%), followed by superannuation withdrawals (28.6%), workers compensation (21.3%) and life insurance (18.2%).
  • A little over a quarter of participants engaged with two systems, whereas engaging with three or more systems was relatively uncommon.
  • There are many personal and social factors that play a role in determining how people engage with different levels of income support.
  • Participants were financially distressed. More than half of the survey respondents reported a period of no income which lasted on average somewhere between 7 and 15 months.

This project expands on the Cross Sector Project Report that generated a national conceptual map of the ten major benefit and income support systems. The final report is due to be published in the coming months.

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Our partner AFOEM set to release “It Pays to Care” report

28 Mar 2022

On Wednesday 27 April 2022, our partner the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) will launch a major initiative for the health care of injured workers – “It Pays to Care”.

Two documents will be released with a panel of keynote speakers as part of a drive to promote national discussion about core elements of workers compensation schemes. These documents highlight that healthcare in compensation settings should feature:

  1. A systematic approach to addressing psychosocial factors
  2. Evidence-based medical care (high value health care)
  3. Increased certification options to ensure access to high-quality treatment
  4. Better training for health professionals.

Registrations for the event are now open.

View the program flyer.

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Collaborative Partnership presents at ALUCA and ANZSOM industry events

21 Mar 2022

Our partners EML, Comcare, and our Expert Advisor Professor Niki Ellis have represented the Collaborative Partnership at two industry events.

EML and Comcare presented an overview of the Collaborative Partnership and Pillar Two findings at an online webinar hosted by the Australasian Life Underwriting Claims Association (ALUCA) with representatives across the Super and Life Insurance industries.

Professor Niki Ellis presented her witness seminar on the History of Occupational Medicine at an event hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine (ANZSOM) where speakers discussed the evolution of the practice over the past 50 years.

Both presentations are available for ALUCA and ANZSOM members.

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The Collaborative Partnership Newsletter - December 2021

15 Dec 2021

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

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Key findings from national cross-sector workshop series to support implementation of GP Principles

08 Dec 2021

A summary report including key findings and recommendations from the Collaborative Partnership’s national cross-sector workshop series is now available.

Led by the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) with support from Comcare, the aim of the series was to progress a national conversation on how to implement the Collaborative Partnership’s publication: Principles on the role of the GP in supporting work participation.

Five workshops were held with key stakeholder groups representing employers and industry, income support systems, GPs and peak medical bodies and unions.

Key findings included the need for following themes:

  • Greater transparency and better communication to build trust between systems, employers and GPs.
  • The principles of supporting work participation do not change, regardless of the injury or disability, or what system the individual is accessing.
  • Efforts are needed for a more unified income and benefit support system across Australia.
  • Opportunity to leverage the full potential of the case manager role that operates in all systems.

Recommendations included continued promotion of the GP Principles, ongoing engagement with people that have lived experience, and developing principles for employers on their role in supporting work participation.

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 AFOEM, the publication was first released in March 2020.

For more information, please read the summary report.

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Join us at the Actuaries Institute Injury & Disability Scheme Seminar

30 Sep 2021

Our Expert Advisor Professor Niki Ellis will join partners from Comcare, EML, the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM), the National Mental Health Commission and research contributor Monash University at the Seminar from 18-19 October.

Panels and sessions include:

18 October 2021

  • Plenary panel — Professor Niki Ellis

19 October 2021

  • Session — Comcare’s Natalie Bekis, Collaborative Partnership - Where to from here?
  • Session — University of Melbourne and Monash University, A model of Australia’s work disability support systems – what could it tell us?
  • Session — EML’s Simon Bailey, Transition support for people moving between two systems – what works?
  • Session — RACGP’s Dr Robin Chase, Role of General Practitioners
  • Panel discussion — Comcare, EML, AFOEM, National Mental Health Commission - facilitated by Professor Niki Ellis

For more information, including registration, speaker and program details, visit the Seminar website.

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Pillar 2: Transition Support trial led by EML

30 Sep 2021

Our partner, EML has trialled a Transition Support Specialist service with 50 participants that were exiting the Victorian Workers’ Compensation system.

The aim of the trial was to support injured workers exiting the system to become job ready by facilitating a ‘soft landing’. Through the support of the Transition Specialist, participants built their confidence, independence and job readiness.

Each participant had access to services that were tailored to meet their individual needs, including mental health, employment, physical health, social supports, material aid, family support and financial assistance.

The program’s success was attributed to the personalised service delivered by a qualified allied health professional operating outside of legislation to identify barriers to employability.

Key findings include:

  • 26% of participants achieved paid employment outcomes after 3 years of being out of work.
  • 100% of participant wellbeing scores increased by the end of the program
  • 90% of participants provided resources and support to access community and health services
  • 78% of participants were satisfied or very satisfied with the program

A full report on the trial will be available later in 2021. For more information about our work on Pillar 2 research, visit our Projects.

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NDIA research identifies ways to improve employment outcomes for people with autism, intellectual disability and/or psychosocial disability

30 Sep 2021

Our partner, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has conducted research into improving employment outcomes for people with autism, intellectual disability and/or psychosocial disability.

Led by The University of Melbourne in partnership with the University of New South Wales and Brotherhood of St Laurence, the research aimed to identify approaches that can improve employment outcomes while also identifying ways to build capability among employers and job seekers.

The research found employment outcomes may be improved through:

  • Development of Job skills in workplaces
  • Flexible working conditions
  • Inclusive workplaces co-designed by employers and people with disability
  • Person-centred approaches to programs

The research also identified principles and practices for building capability, including:

JobseekerEmployer
  • Implementing person-centred approaches
  • Designing disability employment interventions
  • Applying life course perspective
  • Intervening as early as possible
  • Creating a line of sight across all points on a job seeker’s employment pathway
  • Shifting attitudes and expectations to support social and economic inclusion
  • Using knowledge and information provided about disability employment
  • Building trust, support and constructive relationships
  • Co-producing mutually beneficial employment opportunities
  • Co-designing inclusive workplaces and commercially viable employment.

To learn more about this research visit the NDIA website.

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The Collaborative Partnership Newsletter – July 2021

28 Sep 2021

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

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National scan and analysis of cross-sector services that support people with a health condition or disability participate in good work.

29 Jun 2021

Employment services help people become job ready, find employment, return to work or stay at work – the question is, how do these services operate and perform across all sectors, schemes and systems?

That’s a question, new research from the Collaborative Partnership aims to answer as part of a National scan and analysis of cross-sector services led by Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Social Impact.

This analysis will provide insights into how Australia’s major benefit and income support systems use and engage with the policies and programs of services to support people with a health condition or disability to participate in good work.

This study will conduct a scan with the following systems:

  • workers’ compensation
  • motor vehicle accident compensation
  • veterans’ compensation
  • social welfare
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
  • life insurance
  • superannuation.

Why is this important?

This research will enable a cross-sector understanding of the use and practice of services that support people with health condition or disability participate in good work. It will help identify areas of duplication and provide insights into the best opportunities for alignment across services, sectors and systems. It will also provide the best ways to support people with a health condition or disability to stay at work, return to work and be job ready and their employers.

This research is expected to be delivered in 2021. For more information, visit Our Work to see how this research builds on our past projects and strategy for the future.

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Joining industry leaders at international summit

28 Apr 2021

Professor Niki Ellis, Expert Advisor to the Collaborative Partnership, is presenting at the 2021 All-Actuaries Virtual Summit hosted by the Actuaries Institute of Australia.

Professor Ellis is part of a plenary session with the theme ‘Disability, Support, Services and Income’ and reimagining income support through cross-sector collaboration. Professor Ellis will share the latest update on the Partnership’s work with schemes and systems, general practitioners and employers.

A key focus will be how the Partnership uses systems-level thinking and collaborative approaches to find new ways of supporting and improving work participation among people with a temporary or permanent health condition or disability. Through its previous projects, the Partnership has confirmed there is a need to reconsider traditional system boundaries and find ways to work better together and holistically support effective work participation.

The virtual summit brings together actuaries from across Australia and around the world in virtual and in-person sessions over a month-long program. You can find out more about the event via the Summit website.

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Partner news: National Disability Employment Strategy consultation

28 Apr 2021

Public consultation is now open for the National Disability Employment Strategy, an important initiative from the Department of Social Services (DSS) – a partner of the Collaborative Partnership.

The Employment Strategy will be a ten-year commitment to improve the employment outcomes for people with disability, supporting more jobseekers with disability, and empowering employers to confidently recruit people with disability.

Feedback from employers, service providers, carers and people with disability will be essential to help ensure the Employment Strategy focuses on the issues that matter most to all Australians and is well designed to achieve positive outcomes.

How can you get involved?

Find out more at DSS Engage – www.engage.dss.gov.au to read the consultation paper and find out how you can make a submission.

Submissions close 9am (AEST) 17 May 2021.

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New GP Snapshot - important guide for everyone involved in work participation

26 Apr 2021

Helping more people with a health condition or disability engage in good work relies on the coordination and cooperation of many stakeholders – general practitioners (GPs), employers, case managers, representatives from schemes and systems, families and carers, and individuals.

“People need to understand their relative role in the process – and most of us are uncertain.”
Industry participant from our recent GP workshop series

In our new GP Snapshot, while the focus is on the role of GPs, this information also provides valuable insights for everyone involved in the process about how they can work with GPs to help more people with a health condition or disability engage in good work.

The Snapshot is an easy to use resource that covers three important principles to support GPs, including  providing early support and promoting the benefits of good work as part of patient recovery and wellbeing, and working with stakeholders to determine work accommodations when needed.

The Principles on the role of the GP in supporting work participation (PDF, 6.9 MB) 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 publication was first released in March 2020.

For more information, please read the GP Snapshot (PDF, 1.4 MB).

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Survey participants needed

31 Mar 2021

We are calling on people with a health condition or disability to participate in a survey developed by Monash University.

Survey responses will provide a better understanding of how and when people transition between income support systems, their experiences and impacts on their health and work outcomes. Responses can help to inform and drive improvements in systems policy and design.

This initiative forms part of the first pillar of the Partnership’s Strategy 2020-22: measuring the movement of people between systems. We are building on our previous work with the Cross Sector Systems project led by Department of Social Services, which delivered the first national conceptual map of Australia’s ten major benefit and compensation systems.

You can complete the survey now or learn more about the study. The survey will take about 20 minutes and the information provided will be treated as confidential.

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The Collaborative Partnership Newsletter – March 2021

31 Mar 2021

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

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National workshop series to support implementation of GP Principles

16 Mar 2021

This month, the Collaborative Partnership is hosting a national series of workshops to support the implementation of Australia’s-first national principles on the role of the GP in supporting work participation.

Importantly, the series will bring together a diverse mix of interested stakeholders, including GPs and peak professional health bodies, employers and industry, insurers, schemes and systems, people with lived experience, and the ACTU.

We are using a collaborative approach to share perspectives on how sectors and systems can work together with GPs in helping people with a health condition or disability engage in good work. A key focus will be how the GP principles can be applied across clinical practice, workplaces and compensation and other income support systems to support improved collaboration and system design.

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 publication was first released in March 2020.

For more information, please read the Principles (PDF, 6.9 MB).

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The Collaborative Partnership Newsletter – Dec 2020

10 Dec 2020

Please see the December edition of the Collaborative Partnership Newsletter (PDF, 1.8 MB) for the latest information and recent achievements of the Collaborative Partnership.

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The Collaborative Partnership Newsletter – September 2020

07 Oct 2020

Please see the September edition of the Collaborative Partnership Newsletter (PDF, 1.1 MB) for the latest information and recent achievements of the Collaborative Partnership.

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Employer Research: final phase wraps up

30 Sep 2020

Our Employer Mobilisation Project has completed its final phase working with two national employers to build their capability to take on and support people with a permanent or temporary health condition or disability.

The aim was to design and test workplace interventions to improve their capacity to offer work and ongoing support to these employees following survey results in the project’s first phase that found:

50 per cent of employers are not confident in their businesses’ ability to support people with a physical or psychological disability or health condition.

Key foundations for success include:

  • Executive support and workplace culture
  • Education and training (test and learn mindset)
  • Acknowledging critical role of managers (seen as the lynchpins)
  • Understanding change is incremental and ongoing.

Led by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment, the project is a key strategic initiative of the Collaborative Partnership to build employer capability and capacity. The report on Phase Two is now available Employer Mobilisation Research Overview (PDF, 1.5 MB).

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The Collaborative Partnership Newsletter – June 2020

22 Jul 2020

Please see the June edition of the Collaborative Partnership Newsletter (PDF, 1.2 MB) for the latest information and recent achievements of the Collaborative Partnership.

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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.

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The Collaborative Partnership Newsletter – March 2020

01 Apr 2020

Please see the March edition of the Collaborative Partnership Newsletter (PDF, 668.7 KB) for the latest information and recent achievements of the Collaborative Partnership.

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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 (PDF, 6.9 MB) 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.

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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).

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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 (PDF, 910.1 KB) or the Research snapshot (PDF, 85.0 KB) with key findings.

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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.

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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 Education, Skills, and Employment 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.

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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.

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Showcasing the Collaborative Partnership on the international stage

17 Dec 2018

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.

Roundtable with Minister

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.

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.

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.

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)

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Sharing the Collaborative Partnership nationally

12 Dec 2018

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.

Jennifer Taylor, CEO Comcare

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.

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 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 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.

Collaborative Partnership Panel

Pictured above: Jennifer Taylor (Former CEO Comcare).

Left to right: Dr Ross Iles (Senior Research Fellow, Monash University), Jennifer Taylor (Former 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).

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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.

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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

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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.

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