- Safe Work Australia Act 2008 (Cth) – Items 1, 3, 6 & 7
- Corporate plan – strategies 3 & 5
- Operational plan – activities 4 & 5
- The National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030 was developed through targeted research and consultation with key stakeholders.
- The National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030 was endorsed by Safe Work Australia Members.
- 2018 National Return to Work Survey headline measure and summary reports were released.
- We co-funded phase 1 of Monash University’s COMPARE study project examining the impact of workers’ compensation scheme policies on return to work outcomes.
- A series of comprehensive reviews were undertaken to improve the national training package for permanent impairment assessors.
- Safe Work Australia Members
- SIG-Workers’ Compensation
- Workers’ compensation authorities
- Employers, union and industry groups
- Injured workers
- National Permanent Impairment Coordinating Committee
- Insurers and claims management organisations
- Medical and allied health practitioners, associations and peak bodies
- Mental health organisations
‘We want to build evidence and drive national action to promote consistent workers’ compensation arrangements and support positive return to work outcomes.’
We continue to work closely with stakeholders to identify national policy opportunities that raise awareness and promote best practice in workers’ compensation and return to work. In 2018–19, Safe Work Australia demonstrated its important role in improving outcomes for injured workers and their employers with the development of the National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030. Other major projects included the redesign and rollout of the 2018 National Return to Work Survey, and a comprehensive update of modules in the national training package for permanent impairment assessors.
National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030
After more than a year of evidence building and consultation, Safe Work Australia Members endorsed the National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030 in April 2019.
The Strategy sets out a ten-year plan for national action to improve return to work outcomes for workers with a work-related injury or illness.
The Strategy is built on a shared desire to make a difference, and was developed in collaboration with the Commonwealth, states and territories, and employer, industry and union groups. Consultation with the insurance, health, legal and academic sectors was valuable in shaping the priorities for the Strategy.
Read the feature story about the Strategy in Feature story: National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030.
National Return to Work Survey
In October 2018, we released the headline measure and summary reports of the 2018 National Return to Work Survey. The survey is a major source of information on the experiences of people injured at work, and provides important insights into how different compensation scheme policies can impact return to work outcomes.
The survey outcomes inform a range of policy work across Safe Work Australia.
We also continue to explore opportunities for deeper analysis of the survey data, and review and refine the survey questionnaire and methodology to improve our understanding of return to work outcomes.
Compensation Policy and Return to Work Effectiveness project
The Insurance Work and Health Group of Monash University completed the first phase of the Compensation Policy and Return to Work Effectiveness (COMPARE) project, which ran from 2015 to 2018. Safe Work Australia and WorkSafe Victoria jointly funded the first phase, which delivered a suite of reports that were instrumental in shaping the National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030.
The objective of the project is to determine how workers’ compensation scheme policies impact return to work outcomes. The project’s findings contribute to the evidence base that guides development of national workers’ compensation and return to work policy.
The project also involves deeper analysis of two Safe Work Australia datasets: the NDS and the National Return to Work Survey.
Safe Work Australia continues to support the project, now in its second phase.
Assessment of permanent impairment
The National Permanent Impairment Coordinating Committee continues to oversee the national approach to permanent impairment assessment and training.
In 2018–19, we worked with the Committee to make improvements to the orthopaedic and nervous system modules in the national training package. A targeted review of the psychiatric and psychological disorders training module was also undertaken.
The reviews ensure that the national training package continues to support a consistent approach to training permanent impairment assessors using the template National guidelines for the evaluation of permanent impairment.
Outlook for 2019–20
A key focus for 2019–20 is the launch and promotion of the National Return to Work Strategy 2020–2030.
We will also:
- develop a five-year implementation plan to support Safe Work Australia Members to implement national actions under the Strategy, and a measurement framework to track progress against the Strategy’s outcomes
- conduct deeper analysis of the 2018 National Return to Work Survey results
- review and refine the 2018 National Return to Work Survey questionnaire and methodology as we prepare for the 2020 survey
- continue our involvement in the COMPARE project
- continue to ensure the efficient and effective management of the national approach to permanent impairment assessment.