Vic Ombudsman open to workcover complaints


According to the Latrobe Valley Express,the (new) Victorian Ombudsman, Deborah Glass, welcomes ‘good’ whinges, including whinges (complaints) about WorkVover Vic (WorkSafe Vic), and is pushing for changes in legislation, in a bid to encourage more complaints. So guys, let’s bring on the workcover complaints!

Vic Ombudsman open to workcover complaints

Send complaints here

By Stephanie Charalambous
April 27, 2015, midnight

Deborah Glass doesn’t mind listening to people have a good whinge.


In fact, she welcomes it. It’s her job.

The Victorian Ombudsman visited Gippsland last week in a bid to increase awareness of her role as a complaints investigator.

“People in regional Victoria have less knowledge about the Victorian Ombudsman and we wanted to change that,” Ms Glass told The Express.

“If they feel something is unfair, I’m in the business of fairness.”

The Ombudsman handles complaints about State Government departments, WorkCover, VicRoads and local councils.

Ms Glass said the latter generally topped the list of the types of complaints raised.

Ombudsman figures from the 2013/14 year show that child protection was of most concern for Morwell residents, with nine complaints, followed by local council at six complaints.

There were six complaints from Moe about the Department of Planning, Transport and Local Infrastructure followed by three about local council, while in Traralgon local council topped the list with seven complaints and housing was the subject of five complaints.

Ms Glass said the low number of complaints were not necessarily an accurate representation of community sentiment.

“You look at those figures and think, ‘is that really the only dissatisfaction people feel?’ I don’t think so,” she said.

In a bid to encourage more complaints, Ms Glass is pushing for changes in legislation.

“At the moment in my legislation, complaints have to be made in writing.Over three quarters of complaints to my office are made over the telephone,” she said.

“We’ve got to tell people who ring in, ‘I’m really sorry but you’ve got to put this in writing‘. Now that’s really poor customer service. So I’d like to see that changed and that’s one of the things I’ve asked the government to amend.”

Ms Glass said if enquiries found a particular department had acted unfairly and there was a “practical outcome” that could be achieved, her office would recommend it.

The Victorian Ombudsman has a dedicated freecall number

1800 806 314 –  for rural and regional Victorians to use.


Note: As far as we know the Ombudsman generally does not investigate complaints about the merits of decisions where a merits review scheme has been set up under legislation. Exceptions may arise. Also see Worksafe Vic Complaints page

9 Responses to “Vic Ombudsman open to workcover complaints”

  1. Why dont all victims of work cover try to go on a Current Affair. ClassAction.

  2. @HardrockTuffNut, BRILLIANT post, thanks you heaps 😀

  3. I’m not familiar with the Victorian Ombudsman & how they approach WorkCover for the State. I am however reasonably familiar with the Queensland Ombudsman & their approach to WorkCover Queensland. It looks like there are some parallels & tips worth mentioning.

    Note: As far as we know the Ombudsman generally does not investigate complaints about the merits of decisions where a merits review scheme has been set up under legislation.

    The above quote is a core consideration on the power to use their (Ombudsman) resources. Additionally it is usually expected that your grievances will have been put to the object of your dissatisfaction (the object being the decision maker in a certain organisation). This is sometimes referred to as an internal complaint. Most government agencies & many large private sector companies have policies that describe the process & how to submit an internal complaint. In Qld it comes under Complaints Management System (CMS).

    The Ombudsman is unlikely to pass over your complaint from assessment to investigation until there is no other right of appeal &/or the organisation has not been notified of complaint & allowed to respond. There are a few exceptions where you can show appeal is not an option & in some cases you are able to show systemic maladministration.

    Tip: It doesn’t seem to be well know that unlike the Ombudsman that can usually only recommend, there is another option in Court under Judicial Review. Although as noted above this is not to delve into ‘merits’ of your case but to insure the process was lawful & consistent with legal convention.

    Unfortunately Judicial Review will be out of reach for a vast number of people I expect. Something that should be reviewed for time limits & cost of litigation.

    Tip: The Ombudsman whether in Qld or Vic deal with lots of complaints so you need to be clear, concise, get to the point & outline remedy sort. To do this use any suggestions the Ombudsman has published.

    Otherwise use basic legal format – state date, your name, address & phone number at top & list complaint in numbered point form after basic outline. Attach any supportive documents through notes of conversations, letters & emails to help lay out issues. If the document has considerable text draw attention to relevant areas. The easier you make it for the reader the better. And offer to run through your complaint at convenient times.

    Tip: Don’t be afraid of complaining, it is your right. But it needs to be a measured response based on fact or genuine belief with purpose & covered by the Ombudsman. In some cases it may be worthwhile for you to contact your State MP & ask him or her to help raise the issue of poor governance.

    Good luck everyone on the injured list… Not naughty list… lol 😉

    HardRockTuffNut April 29, 2015 at 10:55 pm
    • Here is some more info about the Ombudsman/Ombudswoman:

      Governing Legislation

      The Ombudsman is empowered by the following legislation (available in full from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website).
      Table summary of the Ombudsman’s empowering legislation Act Responsible Minister Effect
      Ombudsman Act 1973 Premier Provides for the appointment of an Ombudsman and details the Ombudsman’s role and functions in relation to the investigation of complaints.
      Protected Disclosure Act 2012 Minister for IBAC Empowers the Ombudsman to receive and refer disclosures of improper conduct or detrimental action by public bodies and public officers.
      Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 Attorney-General Amended the Ombudsman Act. Power to investigate whether any administrative action is incompatible with the human rights set out in the Charter. Jurisdiction includes Ministers and municipal councillors.
      Accident Compensation Act 1985 Assistant Treasurer

      Empowers the Ombudsman to investigate:

      authorised agents of the Victorian WorkCover Authority
      delegates of the Victorian WorkCover Authority.

      Children, Youth and Families Act 2005

      Minister for Community Services



      Empowers the Ombudsman to investigate:

      a range of registered community services whose function is to support children, youth and families
      certain authorised persons
      authorised assessors
      authorised investigators

      Corrections Act 1986 Minister for Corrections Empowers the Ombudsman to investigate the actions of contractors manaing prisons or police gaols.
      Disability Act 2006 Minister for Community Services Enables the Community Visitors Board to refer certain matters to the Ombudsman to be dealt with.
      Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 Attorney-General Enables the Information Privacy Commissioner to refer certain matters to the Ombudsman to be dealt with.
      Terrorism (Community Protection) Act 2003 Attorney-General Requires that the Ombudsman be notified in relation to preventative detention orders and prohibited contact orders, and allows the Ombudsman to make representations in relation to prisoners held under those orders.
      Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 Minister for Public Transport Empowers the Ombudsman to investigate the actions of authorised officers (ticket inspectors) in exercising statutory duties in the detection of offences. Enables the Ombudsman to investigate the actions of relevant Transport Safety Officers in relation to compliance and enforcement functions and safety audits.
      Court Security Act 1980 Attorney-General Empowers the Ombudsman to investigate complaints regarding the actions of a contractor in its capacity as a provider of court security.
      Plant Health and Plant Products Act 1995 Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Empowers the Ombudsman to investigate the approved inspection service in its capacity of a provider of services in accordance with an agreement under section 51B.
      Health Services Act 1988 Minister for Health Empowers the Ombudsman to investigate the actions of a contractor or a sub-contractor, in its capacity as a provider of health services, to public hospital patients at the hospital in accordance with an agreement under section 69B(1).
      Magistrates’ Court Act 1989 Attorney-General Empowers the Ombudsman to investigate complaints regarding the actions of a contractor or a sub-contractor in its capacity as a provider of services under an agreement under section 24B(1) or a sub-contract agreement under the Act.
      Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 Minister for Health Empowers the Ombudsman to investigate complaints regarding the actions of authorised officers under the Act.
      Melbourne City Link Act 1995 Minister for Roads

      Empowers the Ombudsman to receive restricted tolling information in order to fulfil his functions in respect to the disclosure and use of restricted tolling information by members of Victoria Police.
      Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission Act 2011 Minister for IBAC Empowers the Ombudsman to receive referrals from the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission for investigation under the Ombudsman Act.
      Victorian Inspectorate Act 2011 Minister for IBAC Establishes the Victorian Inspectorate to provide oversight of the Victorian Ombudsman, including the ability to to take complaints about the Ombudsman and her staff members and review the use of the Ombudsman’s coercive powers.

  4. A lot of US injured people fear making a complaint because we know we will be punished by the WorkCover Insurer, maybe not straight away but it does happen. I was last year on the receiving end of payback for making complaints. Long story short I spent months fighting with Centrelink whilst waiting to see the Medical Panel then be evaluated by them, fortunately for me the Doctors and Specialists listened to me and took what I had written down on paper and eventually decided in my favour.

  5. Don’t waste your time complaining to the Victorian Ombudsman about Workcover. I did couple of months ago and they were totally disinterested and came up with every reason to fob me off. Took them months to even acknowledge getting my complaint. They seem to be more interested in closing out complaints on the day as “solved” or “resolve” to make their stats look good by telling you to go complain to WorkCover.

  6. Fantastic !! Another Door Opens , I Certainly Will Look Into This ( Ombudsman ) After My Journey To Vcat 23rd Feb And 8th April
    ( Vcat Member Has Reserved His Decision For 3 Weeks ) Put It This Way ….I Am Not Holding My Breath !!! So Maybe Ombudsman Is Next Port Of Call !!


    • @Kevin, Injured is right about the Ombudsman. Make a complaint though, if for no other reason than to stuff up their “statistics” which no doubt count towards their big fat bonuses at the cost of us injured workers. The Ombuds really has no power over anything anyway. It’s a horrible incestuous system. I think maybe a heap of us get together and take our issues to IBAC.

  7. Most people fear making a complaint. Why? Because it usually results in more bullying. I would rate it at 99.99% – resulting in a negative outcome for the person making the complaint.

read-before-u-commentThis is a statement pointing you to our seriously injured but esteemed and honourable Social Networking Sites Warning and our comment policy. A must read in the context of a very adversarial workcover system! Remember to mention in which state you reside if you seek advice.

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