Release type: Media Release

Date:

Government restores fairness to workers compensation laws

Ministers:

Senator the Hon Chris Evans
Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations
Leader of the Government in the Senate

The Gillard Government today passed legislation to reverse unfair changes made by the Howard Government to workers’ compensation laws.

The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 restores workers’ compensation protection for people who go off-site for a meal break. It also introduces a mandatory statutory time limit for determining workers’ compensation claims, ensuring that injured workers receive timely assistance.

“Timely access to fair workers’ compensation payments is critical to giving injured workers and their families income security and medical assistance at what is already a difficult and stressful time,” Senator Evans said.

“Without the amendments relating to recess breaks, Australia Post and Telstra staff, for example, could not access workers’ compensation if they injured themselves while away from their work van during a meal break.

“That makes no sense and is absolutely unfair.”

The amendments will also provide workers’ compensation coverage at all times to Commonwealth employees working in high-risk overseas locations.

This is in response to the establishment of the Australian Civilian Corps, who will assist in disaster relief, stabilisation and post-conflict resolution in developing countries and failed states.

“By providing 24/7 workers’ compensation coverage in these circumstances, the Australian Government is demonstrating its support for employees working in high risk environments.”