National workers' compensation initiatives
Workers’ compensation arrangements in Australia currently vary from state to state, and inconsistencies in regulations are viewed by some as creating less efficient and equitable outcomes for workers and employers.
To bridge the gaps between workers’ compensation systems across the country, the Australian Government statutory body Safe Work Australia has put in place an action plan to harmonise worker’s compensation arrangements. The aim of the National Workers’ Compensation Action Plan 2010 - 2013 is to identify if changes to state systems will improve the overall outcomes for workers and employers, and more specifically, if changes will provide or enhance:
- equality for employees or employers
- certainty in the operation and application of the legislation
- clarity and consistency of process
- clarity of guidance and information for workers and employers, and/or
- improved relationships between workers, employers and others.
The National Workers’ Compensation Action Plan 2010 – 2013 will include the development of policy proposals to deliver a range of outcomes. These include:
- setting up a national body to engage and communicate with state, national and international stakeholders (including worker’s compensation bodies) on workers’ compensation matters
- undertaking research on key issues relevant to workers’ compensation bodies, with the goal of developing nation-wide policies, return-to-work tools, and guidance materials for use by these bodies
- establishing consistent definitions and terminologies, and proposing consistent approaches to self-insurance, death benefits, and handling issues for multi-state employers
- establishing and maintaining records on national workers’ compensation data and performance, including reviews of best practice approaches to injury management, comparative performance monitory, and ongoing comparisons of Australian and New Zealand workers’ compensation arrangements.
A copy of the National Worker’s Compensation Action Plan 2010 – 2013 can be viewed here.