Basema Elmasri on 2GB discussing Commonwealth Workers Compensation Scheme 18 May 2021
Basema Elmasri providing Q & A on the 2GB Deborah Knight Afternoon Show discussing Commonwealth Worker's Compensation Scheme 18 May 2021
DK – Deborah Knight/BE – Basema Elmasri /C1,2,3, etc – Callers
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DK It is every one’s favourite time of the week, I know it’s a very popular segment, so give us a call 131 873, we’ve got Basema Elmasri from Turner Freeman Lawyers to give some free legal advice. This week it’s about Comcare. The Commonwealth compensation scheme, which I know covers hundreds and thousands of people or plenty of people fall under it. If you’re one of them call 131 873 or if you;ve had some experience with them or you’re a bit worried about what you might be covered for or going back to work, and if you’ve had any issues at your job and you’re relying on help from the government to get back into work, give us a bell 131 873 or of course shoot us an text 0460 873 873 and you can also listen and send us some feedback via the websites, 2GB.com and 4BC.com.au. Basema, welcome, how are you?
BE I’m well thank you, thank you for having me.
DK Excellent. You are very welcome. Now for those who don’t know, just take us through what is Comcare? What does it actually do?
BE So Comcare is the governing body under the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, it pretty much governs the Commonwealth worker’s compensation scheme, so many workers usually workers who are part of the public sector or licensees to the scheme, sorry, workers who work for example for trucking companies who are licensees to the scheme, so you know if you work for Linfox, TNT, Fedex, you know some employees who work for the big banks, so if you work for NAB, Commonwealth Bank, you will also fall under this worker’s compensation scheme, so it differentiates from the state worker’s compensation scheme so there are different rules and regulations that apply.
DK So it’s for Commonwealth public servants but not just commonwealth public servants, it’s for a whole range of people who aren’t covered by the state schemes.
BE That’s correct, so there are many large corporations that are licensees to the scheme, so they’re your trucking companies, the banks that I mentioned just now that are also covered under the scheme.
DK There you go so give a call, 131 873, if this sounds like you or your workplace or your job, give us a bell if you’ve got any questions for Basema. 131 873 or 0460 873 873 if you want to text your questions in. So what is an example of where you might need help from Comcare, Basema?
BE So for example, if you’ve suffered an injury at work, so whether that be a physical or a psychological injury, so if you’ve tripped and fallen over at the workplace and you’ve bumped your knee, any type of injury really, you’d most likely be covered and also if you’ve been subject to, you know certain behaviours at work, causing psychological symptoms, then you know you’d definitely want to look into it because…..
DK So workplace bullying or harassment or that sort of thing?
BE Yeah, that’s right.
DK And is it just big public agencies and organisations like NAB or Commonwealth Bank or the public bureaucracy or is it also small businesses that would be covered or have their employees covered by Comcare?
BE Usually it is a bigger corporations, but it can also include smaller businesses, just depending on whether your employer is a licensee to the scheme or not.
DK Right, and is it just for employees or if you’re a small business owner, would you be working with Comcare to find out how you can protect yourself, how you can have practices in place so you don’t get subjected to a claim.
BE Yeah, of course, definitely you could.
DK And does Comcare help businesses prepare for these things, does it provide advice, how does it work?
BE Yes, so Comcare, because it’s not only just the scheme, it’s not only a scheme for workers, it’s actually for employers as well so it can also provide advice for employers in that regard, yeah.
DK There you go, give us a call 131 873, 0460 873 873. One subject that is very close to my heart Basema is asbestos victims. I was a workplace reporter at the Daily Telegraph many years ago when the James Hardie asbestos scandal was at its Zenith and there were people being literally left dying without compensation and last time I was filling in on afternoon on 2GB and 4BC, I spoke to James Walner, who was a victim of the Mister Fluffy asbestos scheme in Canberra where asbestos was in houses that were built and kids were growing up in these houses not knowing that they were inhaling this deadly stuff, he I’m very sorry to say, died just as his battle for compensation from the federal and ACT governments was won, but Comcare also works alongside government related asbestos claims as well doesn’t it? How does that work?
BE That’s right, so if the person subjected to that sort of disease or contracts that sort of disease and there’s an employer involved that is under the scheme then that also means that person will be covered.
DK And so, it’s run by the federal government, how does that impact claims on state based schemes of via private insurance companies?
BE So it’s just separate from the state scheme, it’s a separate scheme altogether.
DK Right, so would there be any I suppose doubling up or double dipping or they’re completely separated?
BE They’re completely separated.
DK Great, fantastic. Turner Freeman Lawyers of course provides a range of specialised legal services including compensation and negligence law, asbestos litigation, superannuation and disability claims, employment law, wills and estate and property law. Basema if people do have concerns about their coverage or if they feel like they have been injured at work physically or psychologically, what’s the best course of action for them?
BE Best thing to do is give us a call, and arrange a conference with one of our lawyers, it can be over the phone or in person, whatever suits the worker themselves and we’re happy to give free advice.
DK Fantastic and so that advice initially can be completely free and they can understand where to go from there.
DK Great and is it a relatively straight forward process to make a claim or to go through this thing or is it something you really want to have someone I guess holding your hand as you walk through and jump through these hoops.
BE Oh look, particularly with the Comcare scheme, best you speak to a lawyer because there are time frames that apply, they’re very strict, if you miss them it could prevent you from bringing a claim, so you really do want to get in touch with a lawyer and get advice about making a claim and the timeframes that you need to comply with.
DK Well there you go. So if you do want to get in touch with any of the lawyers at Turner Freeman, just visit www.turnerfreeman.com.au or call 13 43 63. That’s 13 4363. Basema Elmasri, thanks very much for joining us on Afternoons.
BE Thank you.