WRCAC Communique August 2021

Functions of the Council

In accordance with section 9 of the Return to Work Act 1986, the functions of the Council are to:

(a) keep the operation of the Return to Work Act 1986 under review;

(b) make recommendations to the Minister on possible improvements to the administration of the Return to Work Act 1986, or the statutory scheme for the rehabilitation and compensation of injured workers in the Northern Territory;

(c) carry out investigations, at the request of the Minister, into questions about the rehabilitation and compensation of injured workers and to report to the Minister on the results of the investigations; and

(d) perform any other advisory functions relating to workers’ rehabilitation and compensation as the Minister directs.

The Council comprises the person constituting the Work Health Authority under section 4(3) of the Work Health Administration Act 2011 and up to 10 other members appointed by the Minister.

Council members must represent stakeholders of the Northern Territory Workers’ Compensation Scheme, including balanced representation from a wide range of industry sectors, employer and worker interests, and insurers. Membership of the Council must also include persons with expertise in the rehabilitation of injured workers.

The Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Advisory Council (the Council) met on
12 August 2021.

The following items were discussed.

Lyons review action - Injured Workers and Family Forum Subcommittee

The Chair provided that the findings and recommendations made by the injured workers and family forum subcommittee have been sent to the Minister for consideration. Members noted the update. It was agreed that this would remain a standing item on the council’s agenda.

Further information pertaining to rehabilitation and compensation charges to inform a response to the Chief Finance Officer for the Department of Health (Chair)

At meeting 02/2021 the council members agreed to provide the Chair with further information to collate and draft a response to the Chief Finance Officer for the Department of Health. Members agreed to carry this item over to the next meeting to allow further time to provide information.

Letter from Chair to Minister regarding small business premium increases and Ministers response

The Chair of the Council provided a letter to the Minister in relation to small business premium increases. A response was received by the Minister and was circulated to the Council members for noting.

Based on the information available to the Minister at this point in time, the Minister does not recommend any changes to the scheme, however will be happy to consider evidence based recommendations should that information become available and identify possible improvements to the scheme

WRCAC Annual Report (Draft)

Pursuant to s15 of the Return to Work Act 1986, the Council must submit a report to the Minister for each financial year.

The council reviewed a copy of the draft annual report provided by the Council secretary. The Chair agreed to the request made by the secretary that members review the report out of session and provide proposed changes to the secretary prior to the report being finalised for the Minister.

Charles Darwin University collaboration

Council members provided feedback on the possibility of a partnership with Charles Darwin University (CDU) to conduct NT specific research of claimants regarding return to work factors and satisfaction.

Discussions were held regarding the national return to work survey and if this proposed research would duplicate this.

The council agreed that further information needed to be sought and presented at the next meeting.

Next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for 4 November 2021.