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About the SRCC

Responsible Minister

The SRCC operates within the Attorney-General’s portfolio. The Minister for Industrial Relations the Hon Christian Porter MP, is the responsible Minister and has the power to give directions to the SRCC about the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers. These directions may include criteria and procedures for the scope of licences, record keeping and reporting requirements, and related matters.

Role and functions

The SRCC administers functions under the SRC Act, other than those functions attributed to Comcare. The SRC Act establishes the workers’ compensation scheme covering Commonwealth employees, Australian Capital Territory Government employees and the employees of licensed entities.

The SRCC has a number of general and specific roles and functions conferred on it by the SRC Act and WHS Act. The role and functions under the SRC Act are to:

  • ensure that, as far as practicable, there is equity of outcomes resulting from administrative practices and procedures used by Comcare and a licensee in the performance of their respective functions under the SRC Act
  • advise the Minister about anything relating to the operation of the SRC Act or to the SRCC’s functions or powers
  • issue guidelines to Comcare or licensees about their powers and functions
  • be the issuing authority and regulator of self-insurance licences under the SRC Act, including setting licence fees
  • provide guidelines on the setting of premiums and a review point (if required) for employers’ premium and regulatory contribution determinations
  • undertake other functions as conferred on the SRCC by any other Act.

Under the WHS Act, the functions of the SRCC are to:

  • advise the Minister on the administration of the WHS Act
  • advise and make recommendations to the Minister on the most effective means of giving effect to the objects of the WHS Act
  • enquire into and make recommendations to the Minister on any matter relating to work health and safety referred to the SRCC by the Minister
  • provide a forum for consultation between Comcare and persons conducting business or undertakings, workers and the bodies that represent them.

SRCC accountabilities

The SRCC has an evaluation framework which it uses to provide assurance that it has appropriately discharged its statutory responsibilities. The framework includes an annual assessment of the outcomes and activities of the SRCC against each of its statutory functions.

The outcomes and activities against each functional category enable the SRCC to make an informed assessment of its performance in meeting its regulatory functions as listed above.

At its September 2019 meeting the SRCC resolved that it had satisfactorily discharged its statutory responsibilities for the 2018–19 reporting year.

Further evidence that the SRCC is meeting its accountabilities, and fulfilling its statutory responsibility, is demonstrated when the Chairperson reports on the key outcomes of each regular SRCC meeting to the Minister.

Membership

The SRC Act provides for the SRCC to have 11 Members, each appointed by the Minister (other than Safe Work Australia's CEO). Members other than the Chairperson may appoint a deputy, subject to the Minister’s approval. A Member, other than Safe Work Australia’s CEO, holds office on a part-time basis for a term not longer than three years, as specified in the instrument of appointment. Members are eligible for reappointment.

The SRCC comprised the following members during 2018–19:

  • Ms Rosemary Vilgan, Chairperson
  • Ms Lisa Newman, Deputy National President, Community and Public Sector Union, Member nominated by the ACTU
  • Mr Trevor Gauld, State Secretary, Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union, Member nominated by the ACTU
  • Mr Michael Borowick, Assistant Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Member nominated by the ACTU (until August 2018)
  • Mr Tom Roberts, Director of Industrial and Social Policy, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Member nominated by the ACTU (appointed from March 2019)
  • Ms Louisa Hudson, Member representing the licensees
  • Ms Jody Anderson, Group Manager, Work Health and Safety Policy Group, Attorney-General’s Department, Member representing the Commonwealth and Commonwealth authorities (appointed from January 2019)
  • Mr Adrian Breen, Branch Manager, Work Health and Safety Policy Branch, Department of Jobs and Small Business, Member representing the Commonwealth and Commonwealth authorities (until December 2018)
  • Ms Justine Ross, Acting Group Manager, Work Health and Safety Policy Group, Department of Jobs and Small Business, Member representing the Commonwealth and Commonwealth authorities (until August 2018)
  • Ms Michelle Baxter, CEO of Safe Work Australia
  • Ms Catherine Hudson, Member representing the interests of the Australian Capital Territory public sector employers
  • Mr Stephen Somogyi, Principal Advisor, Strategic Projects, Monash University, Member with qualifications or experience relevant to the SRCC’s functions, or the exercise of its powers
  • Ms Jane Hall, Principal Lawyer, Loupe Legal, Member with qualifications and experience relevant to the SRCC’s functions, or the exercise of its powers.

Operation of the SRCC

The SRCC meets on a quarterly basis with additional meetings held as required. Five Members constitute a quorum, as long as the following Members are present:

  • at least one Member nominated by the ACTU
  • the Member representing licensees
  • the Member representing the Commonwealth and Commonwealth authorities.

The SRCC held four meetings in 2018–19 on 3 October 2018, 28 November 2018, 27 March 2019 and 19 June 2019. Details of attendance at SRCC meetings during 2018–19 are shown in Table 31.

Table 31: SRCC meeting attendance

Commissioners

Meetings eligible to
attend

Meetings attended

Meetings attended by deputy*

Rosemary Vilgan

4

4

n/a

Trevor Gauld

4

3

-

Lisa Newman

4

3

1

Louisa Hudson

4

4

-

Michelle Baxter

4

2

2

Catherine Hudson

4

4

-

Jane Hall

4

4

-

Stephen Somogyi

4

4

-

Adrian Breen

2

1

1

Tom Roberts

1

-

1

Jody Anderson

2

2

-

*During 2018–19 the following Deputies attended SRCC meetings:

  • Tom Roberts, deputy to Lisa Newman
  • Amanda Johnston, deputy to Michelle Baxter
  • David Cains, deputy to Adrian Breen
  • Lien Sutherland, deputy to Tom Roberts.

SRCC sub-committees

The following sub-committee operated during the reporting year.

Reviewing the Regulation of Self-Insured Licensees sub-committee

Purpose: To review the regulation of self-insured licensees and advise and make recommendations as appropriate.

Throughout the reporting period, and in consultation with licensee representatives, affiliated unions and other stakeholders, the sub-committee monitored and reviewed the operation of the SRCC’s regulatory model.

Members (as at 30 June 2019): Chairperson Rosemary Vilgan and Commissioners Louisa Hudson, Trevor Gauld and Jody Anderson.

Decision making

The SRCC has the powers and functions to make a wide range of decisions under the SRC Act and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Regulations and Directions 2019 and other legislative instruments. SRCC decisions of an administrative character are subject to judicial review.

Directions and Guidelines

Under section 89S of the SRC Act the SRCC is required to provide a report to the Minister to give to Parliament on its activities for each financial year. Among other things, the report must include particulars of any Directions given by the Minister under section 89D and any Guidelines issued by the SRCC under section 73A of the SRC Act.

The Minister issued one Direction to the SRCC under the SRC Act during 2018-19 – the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Directions 2019.

The SRCC issued no Guidelines under section 73A of the SRC Act during 2018–19.

Delegations

At its 28 November 2018 meeting, the SRCC agreed to delegate to the Chief Executive Officer of Comcare its function under the SRC Act to estimate the amount of licence fees payable by each licensee each financial year and notify each licensee of this amount in writing.

Code of Conduct

At its 3 October 2018 meeting, the SRCC endorsed its Code of Conduct to describe the standards of behaviour and conduct expected from Commissioners in their dealings with Members, stakeholders and the public. The Code of Conduct is available on the SRCC website.

Stakeholder engagement

One of the SRCC’s key priorities in 2018-19 was effective stakeholder engagement, with a key outcome being that the SRCC is open and transparent in its dealings with regulated entities.

To this end, the SRCC held its annual meeting with licensees on 27 March 2019 to provide:

  • a forum for discussion on the operation of the SRCC’s regulatory model
  • an opportunity for licensees to provide feedback to the SRCC.

As part of its commitment to strengthen stakeholder engagement, the SRCC held its inaugural meeting with affiliated unions on 19 June 2019 to achieve a mechanism for the SRCC to collaborate with its stakeholders to achieve its functions.

The SRCC also invited licensee and affiliated union representatives to sub-committee meetings to discuss feedback on the development of the various elements of the SRCC’s regulatory model and other matters affecting licensees and affiliated unions.

The SRCC will continue to engage with the licensees and affiliated unions on current priority items.