Mediation may help solve disputes by sharing information and documents, identifying the issues in dispute, discussing them and trying to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. It is a fair, informal, quick service and is offered at no cost to the injured worker.
An injured worker who has attempted to resolve a dispute and is dissatisfied with the outcome may apply to NT WorkSafe to have the dispute referred to mediation by completing an 'application for mediation form'.
If the dispute is in relation to claim rejection, reduction or cancellation of benefits, a worker has 90 days from receipt of the insurer’s 'notice of decision' and 'rights of appeal' to apply to NT WorkSafe for mediation if there is a dispute. Workers are encouraged to lodge a request with NT WorkSafe for mediation as soon as possible after the dispute arises.
Requests for mediation must be in writing and provided to NT WorkSafe by:
First Floor, Building 3
Darwin Corporate Park
631 Stuart Highway
Darwin NT 0828
Request for Mediation
GPO Box 1722
Darwin NT 0801
The worker may contact the workers rehabilitation and compensation section in NT WorkSafe on 1800 250 713 for assistance with their application.
A mediator will be appointed within 7 days of NT WorkSafe receiving your written request for mediation.
NT WorkSafe’s role
After NT WorkSafe receives the request for mediation, a mediator is appointed within 7 days. NT WorkSafe will also, by notice in writing, require each party, being worker, employer and employer’s insurer, to provide:
- all written medical reports in the party’s possession or control relevant to the dispute, including reports on which the party does not rely, and
- all other written material in the party’s possession or control on which the party relies.
On receipt of this information NT WorkSafe will provide the reports and other material to the mediator and will assist the mediator by making copies available to parties.
Once the request for mediation is lodged the worker must ensure that they are available during the 21 days to supply any additional information that may assist the mediator in resolving the dispute. This is especially important where it appears to the mediator that a conference needs to be convened to assist in the resolution of a dispute. If a mediator decides to convene a mediation conference, participation is compulsory.
Once appointed, the mediator has 21 days to progress and complete the mediation process.
The mediator is required to be independent, fair and impartial. The mediator will assist discussion, keep control of the process and assist the parties to reach agreement. If required, the mediator may make recommendations to assist the parties to resolve the issue(s) under dispute.
The mediator may request any additional information that the mediator believes will assist in resolving the dispute.
If in the opinion of the mediator, a conference would help resolve the matter then the mediator will convene a mediation conference and require the worker, the insurer and the employer to attend.
A worker is entitled to have a support person (who is not a lawyer) attend the conference with them such as a union representative, a family member or a friend. The support person can only represent the worker if the mediator is satisfied that it will help the mediation process. All parties must be notified if the support person is representing the worker.
The legislation provides that the mediator may allow a lawyer to represent the worker in certain circumstances.
The legislation provides that the mediator may recommend to NT WorkSafe that the employer be required to pay the reasonable cost of legal representation and / or advice. The maximum amount the employer may be required to pay will not be more than the average weekly earnings at the time of the mediator's recommendation.
Outcome of mediation
Mediation may result in:
- the reasons for a decision becoming clearer or better understood by the worker
- the decision being changed
- an undertaking by the insurer to reconsider their decision on receipt of further information, or
- no change to the decision.
All parties will be advised in writing, in the approved form, by the mediator, of the outcome of the mediation including any recommendations. The written advice of the mediator is referred to as a 'certificate of mediation'.
Claimant dissatisfied with outcome of mediation
If a worker is dissatisfied with the outcome of the mediation process, they may then make an application to the Work Health Court.
The application to commence Court proceedings should be made within 28 days from the date of receipt of the 'certificate of mediation'.
Note: Before making an application to the Work Health Court, the worker must first apply for, and complete, the mediation process.
The worker may apply to the Work Health Court for interim benefits (wages) at any time after they have applied for mediation. For further information contact the Work Health Court on (08) 8999 7280.
Note: The worker should be aware that if their claim is subsequently denied, action might be taken to recover these benefits from the worker.
The below video has been developed to give helpful information about workers compensation:
|Mediation process for workers compensation|
|Preparation for workers compensation mediation|
|Application for mediation|