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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 966

(Question No. 4870)


Mr Blunt asked the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 11 November 1986:

(1) When and for what reasons did the Government decide to conduct a review of Commonwealth employees' compensation.

(2) When did the review begin and when will it report.

(3) What are the guidelines or terms of reference of the review.

(4) Who is conducting the inquiry.

(5) What are the itemised costs of the review.

(6) How many compensation payments have been made in each year since 1982 and, for each year, what was the (a) cost and (b) reasons for payment.

(7) In each year since 1982 (a) how many appeals were made over decisions of the Commissioner for Employee's Compensation and (b) how many appeals were successful in respect of (i) each State and Territory, (ii) each department and authority and (iii) each reason for a claim.

(8) Has abuse of the compensation system been detected; if so, what has been the extent of this abuse in each year since 1982.

(9) If no abuse has been detected, why is a review necessary.

(10) Have any recommendations been received from the review; if so, what action has been taken.

(11) Is any further action planned, and when will it occur.


Mr Howe —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) to (4) On 10 June this year the Government decided to conduct a review of the Commonwealth Employees Compensation Scheme.

The Government decided the review should place greater emphasis on occupational health and safety than does the present system.

A review team was set up comprising officers from my department as well as the Department of Finance, the Public Service Board and the Office of the Commissioner for Employees' Compensation. Its guidelines are to produce a system which reduces the human and financial costs of work-related injury and disease through safety and accident prevention, effective rehabilitation and prompt delivery of adequate compensation.

The review is expected to report early in 1987 and the Government will then decide on future action.

(5) An actuarial consultant has been employed at a cost of $100,000. Salaries and other administrative costs for officers engaged on the Review fall within normal departmental appropriations and cannot be readily identified.

(6) See the schedule at Attachment A.

(7) (a) 1982-83-298

1983-84-386

1984-85-185

1985-86-229

(b) See the schedule at Attachment B.

(8) and (9) Statistics which might indicate if there are exaggerated claims are not kept. See also answer to parts (1)-(4).

(10) No.

(11) See (1)-(4) above.

COMPENSATION PAYMENTS ACCORDING TO SECTIONS OF THE ACT

1982-83

Cases

$'000

1983-84

Cases

$'000

1984-85

Cases

$'000

1985-86

Cases

$'000

Artificial aids (s. 28)...

253

26

231

27

216

69

200

42

Medical expenses (s. 37)...

42,598

16,731

43,165

18,358

48,858

21,921

55,088

29,197

For specified losses (s. 39)...

1,619

5,741

1,708

5,900

1,355

5,780

1,587

7,347

For loss of capacity to engage in sexual intercourse (s. 40)...

6

84

7

100

2

43

1

22

For facial disfigurement (s. 41)...

2

18

4

37

2

14

1

11

For loss of taste or smell (s. 41)...

3

7

-

-

-

-

4

14

Death, lump sum and weekly payments for dependants of deceased employees (s. 43)...

464

4,263

464

5,080

460

3,877

437

3,186

Funeral expenses (s. 44)...

91

75

99

95

87

81

56

52

For total incapacity (s. 45)...

36,380

70,296

38,748

88,387

43,596

121,117

47,318

158,926

Redemptions of section 46...

460

1,782

546

2,319

881

2,540

1,707

4,753

Attendants allowance (s. 48)...

93

83

126

117

528

414

2,000

2,010

Payments by payment of lump sum (s. 49)...

21

1,070

12

329

15

396

28

1,426

Recurrent payments after payment of lump sum (s. 50)...

63

489

73

682

72

594

78

848

100,665

121,431

156,846

207,845

Note: An additional $2863 was spent in 1984-85 for vocational training

- Nil

AGENCY

Australian Telecommunications Commission

Year

Condition claim

ACT

NSW

WVic

Qld

SA

WA

Tas

NT

1982-83

Back injury...

6

1

Death...

1

3

Vision defect...

1

Tenosynovitis...

1

Fracture (R) leg...

1

Bruised head, shoulder and wrist...

1

Leg pains...

1

Injury...

1

Sub-total...

12

3

1

1

1983-84

Injuries...

1

Knee injury...

2

Nervous condition...

1

Back shoulder injury...

1

1

1

1

Death...

1

1

1

Neck injury...

1

Left side hernia...

1

Disc, back, hernia depression and hypertension...

1

Coronary occlusion...

1

Sub-total...

8

4

1

1

1

1984-85

Back injury/pains...

4

1

Chest infect pleurisy and anxiety...

1

Knee ligament injury...

1

1

Heart attack ...

1

Injuries...

1

Tinnitus and hearing loss...

1

Left side hernia...

1

Sub-total...

7

4

1

1985-86

Personal injuries...

1

Bronchitis and asthma...

1

Spinal injury...

1

Sub-total...

2

1

Total...

29

11

2

1

2

2

Department of Defence

1982-83

Back and leg, psychological reaction...

1

Neck pain...

1

Myocardial infarction...

1

Hearing loss...

1

Heart attack ...

1

Stroke...

1

Cuts to hands, bruised knee and nose...

1

Neck injury...

1

Back injury...

1

Mental disorder...

1

Motor accident injuries...

1

Bruised leg, elbow, hip...

1

Injured right knee...

1

Dislocated knees...

1

Neck and shoulder muscles...

1

Deafness...

1

1

Tumour (R) hand aches both wrist...

1

Hearing loss...

1

Fractured lumbar vertebra...

1

Skin cancer...

1

Rheumatic cardites...

1

Toe, foot, spine injuries...

1

Disc lesion...

1

Spine injuries...

1

Sub-total...

2

9

8

1

2

2

1

1983-84

Industrial deafness...

1

Industrial deafness...

1

Vertebra and disc injury...

1

Loss of leg, vascular...

1

Diabetes...

1

Injuries sustained 28.7.83...

1

Chronic peritonitis ...

1

Strained left knee...

1

Stomach ulcers...

1

Myocardial infarction...

1

Injury sustained 24.6.83...

1

Tenosynovitis...

1

Hearing and tinnitus...

1

Multiple injuries...

1

Hearing loss...

1

Arthritis (R) ankle...

1

Tendons (R) arm...

1

Injury (L) elbow...

1

Hearing impairment...

1

Neck, shoulder muscles...

1

Deafness...

1

Fractured spine...

1

Back injury...

1

Death...

1

Back injury...

1

Back injury...

1

Back injury...

1

Osteoarthritis...

1

Pain in (R) leg, buttock, side...

1

Hearing loss...

1

Strained back...

1

Sub-total...

1

10

10

5

3

1

1

1984-85

...Myocardial infarction...

1

Lung disorder...

1

Low back pains...

1

Scheuermans disease...

1

Frac. nose, contusions, wounds to lips...

1

Sprain of thumb and finger...

1

Hearing loss...

1

Continuous pain in lower back...

1

Back injury...

1

Neck degeneration...

1

Deafness...

1

Sub-total...

1

3

5

1

1

1985-86

Deafness...

1

Left lower abdomen...

1

Back injury...

1

Hearing loss...

1

Back pains...

1

Spinal injury...

1

Burnt eyes...

1

Sub-total...

2

3

2

TOTAL...

4

24

26

8

6

4

1

1

Australian Postal Commission

1982-83

Hypertension, anxiety state...

1

Knee, leg, head, neck injury...

1

Nervous reaction...

1

Ankles, leg, knee and hip injury...

1

Collapsed lung...

l1

Sub-total...

2

3

1983-84

Torn leg muscle...

1

Back injury...

1

Sub-total...

1

1

1984-85

Shock and frac., tibia, jarred left shoulder (1) upper chest...

1

Sprained leg in right ankle...

1

Myocardial infarction...

1

Slipped disc...

1

Sub-total...

3

1

1985-86

Severe back injury...

1

Severe back injury...

1

Sub-total...

2

TOTAL...

6

5

2

Australian National Railways

1982-83

Fracture vertebral (R) wrist and (R) shoulder ...

1

Leg and back injury and (R) sciatica ...

1

Hearing loss ...

1

Hearing loss ...

1

Sub-total ...

4

1983-84

Heart attack ...

1

Back injury ...

1

Sub-total ...

2

1984-85

Pain in (R) shoulder ...

1

Coronary arteriosclerosis, Myocardical infarction ...

1

Hearing loss ...

1

Sub-total ...

3

1985-86

Strained back ...

1

Sub-total ...

1

Total ...

10

Commonwealth Banking Corporation

1982-83

Back injury ...

1

Arthritis ...

1

Hypertension ...

1

Fractured spine ...

1

Neck, and pinched nerve ...

1

1983-84

Anxiety depression state ...

1

Nervous anxiety ...

1

1984-85

Nervous anxiety, gall stones, stomach complaints and chest pains ...

1

Nervous anxiety, insomnia and nervous dyspepsia ...

1

Total ...

7

2

Australian Taxation Office

1982-83

Existing back injury ...

1

Strained back and shoulder

1

Pains arms and wrists ...

1

1983-84

Damage to thumbs and wrists of both hands ...

1

1984-85

Back injury ...

1

1985-86

Tenosynovitis ...

1

Total

5

1

Department of Administrative Services

1982-83

Tinnitus ...

1

1983-84

Back, wrist ...

1

Heart attack ...

1

1984-85

Stress due to working conditions ...

1

Total ...

2

2

Department of Housing and Construction Transport

1982-83

Back injury ...

1

Lumbar spondylitis ...

1

Shoulder injury ...

1

Tenosynovitis both wrists ...

1

Osteoarthritis left knee ...

1

1983-84

Back injury ...

1

Back strain ...

1

Total ...

3

4

Department of Social Security

1982-83

Bilateral carpal tunnel ...

1

1983-84

Back and neck ...

1

Bruised back ...

1

Total ...

1

1

1

CSIRO

1982-83

Back injury ...

1

1983-84

Lumbar strain ...

1

Right knee cap ...

1

Total ...

1

1

1

Department of Veterans' Affairs

1983-84

Hypertension and atherosclerosis ...

1

Staph aureus infection ...

1

Total ...

1

1

Australian National Line

1982-83

Cerebral haemorrhage...

1

1983-84

Head injury and injured neck...

1

TOTAL...

1

1

Australian Bureau of Statistics

1982-83

Lower back injury...

1

1983-84

Cervical disc degeneration...

1

1984-85

Injuries sustained from MVA...

1

TOTAL...

3

Aviation

1984-85

Cold urticaria...

1

Tenosynovitis...

1

TOTAL...

2

Commonwealth Serum Laboratories

1984-85

Hyper/parathyroid calcemia and duodenal ulcer...

1

Bruised left ribs and loin...

1

TOTAL...

2

CCAE

1983-84

Collapse and loss of consciousness...

1

TOTAL...

1

Special Minister of State

1983-84

Sprained back...

1

1984-85

Injury to lower back, left knee...

1

TOTAL...

2

Department of Health

1983-84

Sore neck, back...

1

1985-86

Allergic conjunctivitis...

1

TOTAL...

1

1

Australian Atomic Energy Commission

1983-84

Aggravation of underlying asthma...

1

TOTAL...

1

Department of Finance

1983-84

Aggravation of head, back and neck injury...

1

TOTAL...

1

Attorney-General's Department

1983-84

Unknown infection of digestive tract resulting in ulcers...

1

1984-85

Carpal tunnel syndrome...

1

TOTAL...

2

Aboriginal Affairs

1985-86

Injury to neck...

1

TOTAL...

1

Department of Science

1983-84

Broken scaphoid bone...

1

TOTAL...

1

Department of Primary Industry

1985-86

Bruised chest...

1

TOTAL...

1

Snowy Mountains Electricity Commission

1984-85

Injury to left knee...

1

TOTAL...

1

Department of Territories

1984-85

Right knee injury...

1

1985-86

Back and spine injury...

1

TOTAL...

2