The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) will use a recently announced review into the federal compensation and rehabilitation scheme to push for improvements to workers' protections.
The Minister for Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, this week announced a review of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1998 (SRC Act), which covers Commonwealth and ACT public servants as well as workers in a small number of large corporations.
The review will examine the legislative provisions of the SRC Act as well as the performance and financial framework of the Comcare scheme.
CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said, "in the current Budget environment it's important that the review is not all about cutting costs and reducing benefits for workers, but is about reducing the number of injuries and getting people back to work sooner."
"The review also needs to ensure Comcare has adequate staffing and resources to do its important work. Like most other APS agencies, its budget has been hit hard by ongoing ‘efficiency dividend’ cuts," said Ms Flood.
Ms Flood said the review provided an important opportunity to address journey cover for workers injured travelling to and from work, protections that were cut by the Howard Government in 2007.
The CPSU successfully campaigned for the reinstatement in 2011 of protection for employees injured outside the office during work breaks, also cut by the Coalition Government.
"In our view this review must now address the reinstatement of journey cover protection," said Ms Flood.
The review, to be conducted by Mr Peter Hanks QC and Dr Allan Hawke AC and supported by representatives from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, and is scheduled to report to Government in February 2013.
The CPSU will make a submission to the review on behalf of members covered by the scheme.
Members will have the opportunity for input into the submission.