Release type: Media Release


Government plan to make Comcare best practice model


The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten today announced plans to make Comcare best practice for work health and safety and rehabilitation 

Visiting an Australia Post parcel sorting facility in Sunshine West today, the Minister indicated that the Government plans to initiate a national rehabilitation program with Comcare.

“Work related injury and illness has been estimated to cost the nation more than $60 billion every year,” said Minister Shorten.

“The Gillard Government is determined to address this rising cost by ensuring our national work health and safety and rehabilitation regulator, Comcare, becomes a best practice model.”

“The best outcome for all involved; employees, employers and the nation’s productive capacity, is getting injured and ill employees back to work sooner.”

“Comcare is in a unique position to lead this movement by helping us better understand the health benefits of work and early return to work of ill and injured employees.”

An expert medical advisor will be appointed to help define and promote the health benefits of work and the early return to work of ill and injured workers.

Comcare will work with the Institute of Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research to coordinate a national health benefits of work research program.

Comcare partnering with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and the Royal Australian College of GPs will:

  • Develop a ‘therapeutic guideline’ to best prescribe work as part of a rehabilitation program, with associated training and education for medical practitioners on the health benefits of work
  • Trial a medical case conferencing model to help facilitate early return to work. Case conferencing involves discussion between employee, employer and the treating medical practitioner(s) on return to work and rehabilitation steps.
  • Test new approaches to ‘fit for work’ medical certification by GPs in respect of ill or injured works covered by the Comcare scheme
  • Provide support for GPs to access expert advice through online resources and telephone advisory service to help see work as a part of the recovery and return to health of workers
  • Define a national vocational rehabilitation policy to ensure consistent standards across Australia for workplace based rehabilitation.

This work will be in addition to the amendments that will be made to improve rehabilitation and return to work provisions of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act which covers the Comcare scheme.

Comcare is a national work health and safety regulator which covers over 500 000 employees from 230 different government and private organisations including Australia Post, National Australia Bank and Linfox Logistics.