Part of the ANU College of Law Research Seminar Series 2020 series
Commonwealth workers compensation is essentially a battle between employer/insurer interests and employees and their representatives. On the whole, developments in this field are driven, not by legislation, but rather by litigation in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and on appeal in the Federal Court and High Court.
The Seminar will provide an analysis of recent developments in the compensation scheme established under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth), which covers Commonwealth employees (through Comcare), ACT Government employees, the ANU, Australia Post and more than 20 large private sector corporations including Telstra Corporation, National Australia Bank, the Commonwealth Bank group, Optus, the John Holland Group, TNT Australia and Linfox.
Presented by Peter Sutherland, Convenor of the ANU Legal Aid Clinic and author of the Annotated Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (11th Edition, Federation Press), and by Allan Anforth, Canberra barrister and Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra.
Peter will provide an overview of how the legislative scheme works, some comparisons with the State schemes and other Commonwealth schemes (which cover the ADF and seafarers), and some of the key tensions in the scheme at present. These include liability for mental injuries/psychological diseases, liability for injuries occurring outside the workplace, exclusion of liability for injuries resulting from reasonable administrative action, assessment of permanent impairment, and the coverage of licensed corporations under the Act.
Allan specialises in this jurisdiction, acting for applicants in the AAT and the Federal Court. He will give a perspective on how dispute resolution is conducted in this area of law, including the role of the AAT, the often adversarial nature of the litigation, the role of legal costs and ""no win, no pay"" arrangements, and the sometimes less than ""model litigant' behaviour of respondent insurers and their lawyers.