Government lifts Comcare moratorium

Large private corporations will be able to self-insure under the Commonwealth workers’ compensation scheme after the Federal Government lifted a controversial moratorium.

On Monday, Employment Minister Eric Abetz announced corporations competing with existing or former Commonwealth authorities would be able to join the Comcare scheme, for the first time since 2007.

Under the Comcare scheme, a corporation is eligible to apply for a licence to self-insure if it is carrying on business in competition with a Commonwealth authority or corporation that was previously a Commonwealth authority. Examples include Telstra, Australia Post or the Commonwealth Bank.

Abetz says having a single national workers’ compensation scheme would reduce compliance costs for business operating across state lines.

“The decision to lift the moratorium will help remove unnecessary barriers for the benefit of workers and businesses while achieving a more flexible and productive workplace relations system,” he says.

“There are currently 30 licensed corporations covered by Commonwealth workers’ compensation legislation which has shown the opportunities that coverage under a single workers’ compensation scheme can provide by reducing compliance costs and helping businesses to make savings.”

“Given that many large employers already self-insure in the state workers’ compensation schemes, it is unlikely there would be a significant impact on the premium pools of those schemes resulting from the lifting of the moratorium.”

Companies like Linfox, John Holland and CSL are currently Comcare licensees.

Abetz says those wishing to self-insure had to meet rigorous financial and governance criteria.

Comcare released a statement welcoming the announcement, encouraging any corporations interested in self-insuring to contact the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission.