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.