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Guidance on applying the SRC Act

For: Claimants Employers and managers Service providers Advocates Information seekers

We provide guidance to help you, as a decision maker or participant in the Comcare scheme, understand and apply the provisions of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act).

Through this guidance we hope to build a common understanding and consistent approach to applying the SRC Act.


About scheme guidance

Scheme guidance promotes consistent decision making across the Comcare scheme by letting rehabilitation case managers and claims managers know what they need to consider when applying particular provisions of the SRC Act.

View scheme guidance by topic on this page.

Aids, appliances and attendant care

Aids and appliances

Guidance for authorities and claims managers on the appropriate compensation payable for certain alterations, modifications or aids and appliances for employees with an impairment under section 39 of the SRC Act.

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Compensation for attendant care services

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers about the provision of attendant care services under subsection 29(3) of the SRC Act.

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Compensation for household services

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers about the provision of household services under subsection 29(1) of the SRC Act.

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Death claims

Compensation for injuries resulting in death

Guidance about claims for injuries resulting in death under section 17 of the SRC Act.

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Incapacity payments

Adjusting normal weekly earnings

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers about adjusting normal weekly earnings under section 8(10) of the SRC Act.

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Applying the adjustment percentage for incapacity calculations post 45 weeks

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers about applying the relevant adjustment percentage for incapacity calculations under the SRC Act where an employee has exceeded 45 weeks of incapacity payments.

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Calculating normal weekly earnings

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers about calculating normal weekly earnings under sections 8 and 9 of the SRC Act.

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Employees receiving superannuation benefits and incapacity payments

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers about the meaning of ‘received’ for the purposes of calculating incapacity payments when an employee has received benefits under a superannuation scheme.

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No present liability determinations

Guidance on determining ‘no present liability’ where an employee no longer suffers the effects of their compensable condition.

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Available training on incapacity provisions

We provide a range of training activities through the Comcare Learning Management System (LMS).

You first need to create an account in Comcare LMS (see the steps to create an account). Then, select the training item and login with your email and password.

Incapacity provisions training for claims managers

Learn how to calculate and adjust normal weekly earnings, in addition to providing guidance on calculating the incapacity amount for employees who are currently employed.

Understanding the ability to earn provisions of the SRC Act for claims managers

Understand how to apply the ability to earn provisions in the SRC Act, including incapacity calculations, suitable employment and the interaction of the ability to earn and rehabilitation provisions.

Accrual of leave

Accrual of leave during a period of compensation leave

Guidance for employers about calculating accrued leave during periods of compensation leave under section 116 of the SRC Act.

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Independent medical examinations

Section 57 power to require a medical examination under the SRC Act

Guidance on the section 57 power to require an independent medical examination (IME) under the SRC Act.

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Engaging a legally qualified medical practitioner to undertake an independent medical examination under the SRC Act

Guidance on engaging and managing legally qualified medical practitioners during the independent medical examination process.

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Initial determination

New presumptive provisions for first responders who suffer from PTSD

New presumptive provisions for first responders who suffer from PTSD have been introduced. Changes to the Safety, Rehabilitation, and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act), providing presumptive cover for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for first responders, were made by the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Act 2023 and came into effect on December 15, 2023.

The new provisions simplify access to compensation by reversing the burden of proof from first responders to employers and do not introduce new entitlements to compensation payments made under the SRC Act (i.e., weekly incapacity, medical treatment, and other types of compensation circumstances remain unchanged).

For the presumption to apply, the following requirements must be met:

  • The employee has been diagnosed by a legally qualified medical practitioner (LQMP) or psychologist as suffering or having suffered from PTSD, following the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition text revision (DSM-5-TR), or a later edition of the Manual if specified by the Minister.
  • Before the symptoms of PTSD became apparent, the employee was employed as a first responder or was a member of a class of employees declared by the Minister.
  • The employee sustained PTSD on or after the commencement provisions on December 15, 2023.

If these circumstances are met, the employee’s employment as a first responder is considered to have contributed, to a significant degree, to the contraction of PTSD, unless the contrary is established. Section 7(13) defines first responders as:

  • The Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, a Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, or an Australian Federal Police (AFP) employee, all within the meaning of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979.
  • A firefighter.
  • An ambulance officer (including as a paramedic).
  • An emergency services communications operator.
  • A member of an emergency service, within the meaning of the Emergencies Act 2004 (ACT).
  • Australian Border Force Commissioner.
  • An Australian Public Service (APS) employee in the Australian Border Force.

To apply the presumption, SRC Act decision-makers need to establish that the employee is a first responder by reference to the information provided or obtained from the employer, and that the employee has a PTSD diagnosis in line with legislative requirements. If the employee is not a first responder, decision-makers should then consider the claim under the normal provisions of the SRC Act.

If the presumption applies, the employee’s employment as a first responder is taken to have contributed, to a significant degree, to the contraction of PTSD, unless the contrary is established.

Definition of injury and disease

Guidance about the important distinction between the injury (other than a disease) and disease definitions of the SRC Act. Each definition creates different but related bases for injury liability.

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Administrative action exclusion

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers about the level of employment contribution required for the purpose of applying the ‘suffered as a result of reasonable administrative action exclusion’ in section 5A of the SRC Act.

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Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers regarding what constitutes an administrative action taken in respect of employment for the purposes of section 5A of the SRC Act.

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Disease provisions relating to firefighters

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers regarding the presumptive legislation for firefighters under section 7 of the SRC Act.

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Injury arising out of or in the course of employment

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers on the interaction of the SRC Act provisions regarding an injury arising out of or in the course of an employee’s employment.

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Injury in an interval or interlude

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers about the interpretation of the phrase ‘in the course of the employment’ when an employee sustains an injury in an interval or interlude during an overall period of work.

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Relevant authority claim form approvals

Guidance for relevant authorities and their claims managers setting out the principles and requirements for developing a Comcare approved claim form for the purposes of section 54 of the SRC Act for initial claims for workers’ compensation.

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Power to request the provision of information

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers on requesting information from employees under section 58 of the SRC Act.

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Specified diseases and employment

Guidance for authorities and claims managers about the legislative instrument declaring a list of specified diseases and employment under subsection 7(1) of the SRC Act.

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Travel and recess provisions

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers about the historical changes to travel and recess provisions under the SRC Act.

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Claims for injuries sustained at the boundary of a place of work

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers on claims for injuries sustained at the boundary of a place of work.

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Claims for injuries and disease arising from home-based work

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers on claims for injuries and disease arising from home-based work.

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Establishing whether there has been an aggravation to a pre-existing or underlying medical condition

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers on establishing whether there has been an aggravation to a pre-existing or underlying medical condition.

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Medical treatment

Applying the Clinical Framework to assess the reasonableness of medical treatment

Guidance to claims managers on the application of the Clinical Framework for the Delivery of Health Services principles when considering the reasonableness of medical treatment under section 16 of the SRC Act.

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Appropriate cost of medical treatment

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers about the appropriate cost of medical treatment under section 16(1) of the SRC Act.

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Definition of medical treatment

Guidance to relevant authorities and their claims managers on the definition of medical treatment in subsection 4(1) of the SRC Act.

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Permanent impairment

Assessing permanent impairment where multiple injuries are involved

Guidance for relevant authorities and their claims managers about assessing compensation for permanent impairment under the SRC Act where an employee suffers from multiple compensable injuries.

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Assessment of the degree of permanent impairment where an upper limb arthroplasty has taken place

Guidance for relevant authorities and their claims managers on assessing the degree of permanent impairment where an arthroplasty procedure of an upper limb has been undertaken.

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Interest rate for permanent impairment

Guidance on the interest rate to be applied to permanent impairment entitlements which are not paid within the specified period under the SRC Act.

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Available training on permanent impairment

We provide a range of training activities through the Comcare Learning Management System (LMS).

You first need to create an account in Comcare LMS (see the steps to create an account). Then, select the training item and login with your email and password.

Permanent impairment provisions training for claims managers

Gain an understanding of the permanent impairment threshold requirements, how to assess the degree of permanent impairment and calculating the amount of permanent impairment compensation.

Introduction to the assessment of the degree of permanent impairment for medical assessors

Training for medical assessors undertaking an assessment of the degree of permanent impairment under the Guide to the Assessment

Rehabilitation

Fee guidance for workplace rehabilitation providers

Guidance for rehabilitation authorities and workplace rehabilitation providers on the appropriate cost and duration of workplace rehabilitation provider services.

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Suspension of compensation under the rehabilitation provisions of the SRC Act

Guidance for rehabilitation authorities and their case managers on suspending compensation when an employee fails to comply with the rehabilitation provisions of the SRC Act.

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Rehabilitation case management – first steps training

An overview of key introductory rehabilitation case management concepts and practices, including early and effective engagement, biopsychosocial and flags models, identifying potential barriers to return to work and next steps where risks are identified.

We provide rehabilitation case management—first steps training through our learning management system, called Comcare LMS. 

You first need to create an account in Comcare LMS (see the steps to create an account). Then, select the training item and login with your email and password.

Return to work case conferencing training

For rehabilitation case managers to help build capability in organising and conducting return to work case conferences with injured employees and general practitioners.

We provide return to work case conferencing training through our learning management system, called Comcare LMS. 

You first need to create an account in Comcare LMS (see the steps to create an account). Then, select the training item and login with your email and password.

Related legislation

Health and Other Services (Compensation) Act 1995 application to claims

Guidance for authorities on the requirement to notify Medicare under the Health and Other Services (Compensation) Act 1995 (HOSC Act) for claims made under the SRC Act.

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Review and reconsideration of determinations

Extent of power of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

Guidance on the jurisdiction of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) to review decisions and determine compensation entitlements under section 64 of the SRC Act.

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Reconsiderations

Guidance for authorities and claims managers about reconsiderations under the SRC Act.

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Scheme overview

SRC Act and Comcare scheme overview training

An overview of the SRC Act and Comcare scheme, including key claims management and return to work principles for employees of scheme employers, prospective self-insurance applicants, and other stakeholders working in the scheme.

We provide SRC Act and Comcare scheme overview training through our learning management system, called Comcare LMS. 

You first need to create an account in Comcare LMS (see the steps to create an account). Then, select the training item and login with your email and password.


More information

If you have a question about a guidance or would like a copy of a Jurisdictional Policy Advice (JPA) no longer listed on our website:

Page last reviewed: 16 November 2023

Comcare
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 02 Mar 2024

https://www.comcare.gov.au/scheme-legislation/src-act/guidance