We receive a lot of questions re Comcare, particularly on how decisions can be disputed. Many Comcare decisions can be disputed, such as rejection of the claim, decisions to cease your benefits or a decision not to pay for certain medical treatment and/or pay you lump sum compensation for your permanent impairment, and even unreasonable decisions re your RTW.
Tony Abbott’s Government planned changes to Comcare, the national workers compensation scheme, simply means that workers of the Commonwealth public agencies will have their current benefits cut back and/or cut off.
According to The Canberra Times, The Commonwealth’s 160,000 public servants are to be stripped of some of their generous workers’ compensation benefits as the government moves to end the “rorting and malingering” that has dogged the bureaucracy for years.
Federal government reforms to public service workers’ compensation – Comcare- are “harsh, unjust” and “gratuitously mean”, according to the federal opposition. However, the Minister says these reforms will help bring the Commonwealth workers compensation scheme into line with the rules under State schemes and will remove loopholes that can be rorted when injuries occur that are not the responsibility of the employer”.
An injured worker kindly shared an extremely well-written, to-the-point article titled “Justice imperative to protect injured workers” written by a decent, empathic and passionate Canberra Lawyer, David Lander.Whilst the article points the finger at the adversarial Comcare Scheme, it could well be applied to all workcover schemes and their agents…
The following legal cases highlights again that a return to work (RTW) plan must be made in consultation with the injured worker and his/her doctor. In other words, if no consultation was/is made a RTW refusal is valid.
According to Comcare, employers can decrease their premiums provided they too take measures to “eliminate” (rampant) injured workers’ fraud! These “measures” include checking injured workers’ social media pages!
As we all know by now, workcover insurance companies, selected IMEs and their defense lawyers will go to great lengths to find some (any!) cause of your problem (injury/illness) the workcover insurer won’t have to pay for, deny that your injury (illness) happened at work,or was caused in the workplace or even deny the existence of your problem. In this legal case, Comcare et al. tried to blame the worker’s wrist tenosynovitis on the worker’s love of deep sea fishing, and an IME (Dr Richard Gibberd) didn’t even believe the symptoms were organic in nature despite the obvious MRI imaging! Continue Reading…
Tony Abbott’s “biggest bonfire of regulation in our country’s history” will allow some organisations to opt out of state compensation schemes and instead operate under the Commonwealth’s scheme, Comcare.
According to The Conversation, This change is likely to be counterproductive in an already messy system and has the potential to further undermine the viability and fairness of workers’ compensation arrangements in Australia.
The national workers compensation scheme will be tightened under the Abbott government overhaul to prevent reckless workers claiming for injuries caused through their own misconduct….reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
So much for our “no fault workcover system” .. and what about reckless employers?
Comcare workcover scheme to be tightened to prevent reckless injured workers claiming for injuries
Reckless workers hit by Comcare changes
As part of its red tape repeal, the coalition has detailed a series of changes to the Comcare system, including removing restrictions on national companies able to self-insure under the scheme.
But the overhaul also targeted workers the government says “break the rules”, removing access to compensation for those injured as a result of their own “serious and wilful misconduct”.
Tabling the changes in parliament, Leader of the House Christopher Pyne said the compensation scheme should not include a “safety net” for workers who put themselves and other employees at risk.
“The Australian public rightly expects that employees should take personal responsibility for their actions,” he said on Wednesday.
In changes likely to provoke the ire of Labor and the unions, Mr Pyne said the government would also tighten compensation for injuries that occur during recess breaks.
Under the current system, claims could be made when a employee was injured out shopping, at a restaurant or playing sport away from work, he said.
The new laws would address this “unfair arrangement”, he said, while still protecting employees injured in the workplace or undertaking activities associated with their employment.
As flagged, the government will also open the Comcare system up to national companies, so they can avoid the duplication of having to deal with the various state-based systems.
There are 30 corporations now self insured under Comcare – including Telstra, Optus and the National Australia Bank – which the government says are benefiting from reduced red tape, costs and bureaucracy.
The Abbott government last year scrapped a 2007 Labor moratorium on new companies joining.
But the further changes would remove a requirement that companies be in competition with a commonwealth or former commonwealth authority to be eligible.
Debate on the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 has been adjourned.