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Workers' compensation in Australia

Industry Commission inquiry report

This report was signed on 4 February 1994. The report contains the findings of the Industry Commission public inquiry, in response to a request from the Commonwealth Government, to examine whether existing workers’ compensation arrangements ensure appropriate safety and accident prevention incentives for both employers and employees and advise on any changes that should be implemented.

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  • Contents

Cover, Copyright, Signing Page, Contents, Abbreviations, Glossary, Terms of Reference, Overview, Recommendations and Findings

1 The Inquiry
1.1 Why is the inquiry important?
1.2 The Commission's approach
1.3 What are the main issues?
1.4 Structure of the report

2 Existing Arrangements
2.1 Workers' compensation arrangements
2.2 Occupational health and safety regulation
2.3 Trend towards national uniformity
2.4 Common law
2.5 Employment contracts
2.6 Interaction with other government programs and superannuation arrangements

3 Prevention
3.1 What drives prevention?
3.2 Natural incentives
3.3 A 'culture of care'
3.4 Information on workplace hazards
3.5 Liability rules
3.6 Workers' compensation premiums
3.7 Occupational health and safety policies and practices
3.8 Awards and enterprise bargaining

4 Compensation
4.1 Eligibility issues
4.2 Compensation for what?
4.3 Who should pay the cost of work-related injury and illness?
4.4 Compensating for lost earnings
4.5 Compensating for permanent impairment and pain and suffering
4.6 Paying for medical and related costs
4.7 The overall compensation package
4.8 Special problems

5 Rehabilitation And Return To Work
5.1 Effective rehabilitation
5.2 Rehabilitation and return-to-work incentives
5.3 Components of effective rehabilitation

6 Interaction with Other Government Programs and Superannuation
6.1 The health system
6.2 The social security system
6.3 The taxation system
6.4 Transport-accident schemes
6.5 Superannuation arrangements

7 Insurance Regulation
7.1 Nature of insurance
7.2 The regulatory framework
7.3 Market structures

8 Implementing Changes
8.1 Changing arrangements at a national level
8.2 Introducing national consistency
8.3 Transitional arrangements


A Economic Significance of Workers' Compensation Arrangements

B Current Scheme Arrangements

C Occupational Health and Safety Legislation

D Legal And Medical Costs

E Overseas Experience

F History of Workers' Compensation

G Workers' Compensation Premiums

H Changed Incentives and Likely Behavioural Responses

I Benchmarking Workers' Compensation and Occupational Health and Safety Performance

J Occupational Health and Safety Survey Data

K State and Territory Injury Data

L Conduct of The Inquiry

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