On 26 February 2015 Mr Luke Hartsuyker, MP, Deputy Leader of the House
and Assistant Minister for Employment, introduced the Safety Rehabilitation and
Compensation Legislation Amendment (Exit Arrangements) Bill 2015 (the bill).
On 19 March 2015 the Senate referred the provisions of the bill to the Senate
Education and Employment Legislation Committee (the committee) for inquiry and
8 May 2015.
Conduct of the inquiry
Details of the inquiry were made available on the committee's website.
The committee also contacted a number of organisations inviting submissions to
the inquiry. Submissions were received from four organisations, as detailed in
The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (the SRC
Act) establishes a scheme (the Comcare scheme) to provide compensation and
rehabilitation support to injured Australian Government and Australian Capital
Employees of private corporations who hold a licence under the SRC Act also
fall under the scheme.
The SRC Act establishes the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation
Commission (the Commission) that administers the regulatory functions of the
Act, other than those ascribed to Comcare which operates the scheme, and has an
oversight role under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).
Overview of the bill
The bill will amend the SRC Act to provide for financial and other
arrangements for a Commonwealth authority to exit the Comcare scheme.
The framework established by these amendments will:
enable Comcare to determine and collect ‘exit contributions’ from
former Commonwealth authorities and successors of former Commonwealth
authorities. This will ensure that an exiting employer does not leave the
Comcare scheme without contributing an appropriate amount to cover any current
or prospective liabilities that are not funded by premiums the employer has
paid before exit;
ensure that employees injured before the employer’s exit continue
to be supported by an appropriate rehabilitation authority; and
enable Comcare to determine and collect ongoing regulatory
contributions from exited employers or successor bodies.
The bill has two schedules. Broadly, Schedule 1 will establish the
framework to enable Comcare to determine and collect 'exit contributions' from
former Commonwealth authorities and their successors, and any regulatory
contributions from former Commonwealth authorities.
Schedule 1 also amends the SRC Act to clarify that premiums for current
Commonwealth authorities and entities should be calculated with regards to the
principle that current and prospective liabilities should be fully funded by
Comcare-retained funds and so much of the Consolidated Revenue Fund as would be
available under section 90C of the SRC Act.
Schedule 2 amends provisions related to the Commission. Items 1 and 2
replace the existing representative of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
with a second representative of the Commonwealth, nominated by the Minister for
Item 3 provides that members are appointed to the Commission by the Minister
rather than the Governor-General.
Human rights implications
The explanatory memorandum details the bill's engagement with the
following human rights:
the right to work, under Articles 6 and 7 of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR);
the rights of persons with disabilities to rehabilitation and to
work and employment, under Articles 26 and 27 of the Convention on the Rights
of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); and
the right to social security, including social insurance under
Article 9 of the ICESCR.
The explanatory memorandum states that the amendments are compatible
with human rights because they advance the protection of human rights.
Financial impact statement
The committee thanks those individuals and organisations who contributed
to the inquiry by preparing written submissions.
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