Federal Compensation Crackdown

 theage.com.au, 2nd April 2013

Federal public servants seeking workers' compensation payouts face the biggest crackdown in decades.

A federal government review of the $1.2 billion Comcare insurance scheme has urged sweeping reform to curb dubious claims for psychological injuries, payouts for dodgy therapies, doctor shopping and outright fraud.

The review has made more than 147 recommendations to re-write the legislation on Commonwealth public sector compensation claims, with the aim of getting injured workers  back to work and ending their “passive” reliance on compensation.

The taxpayer-funded insurer lost more than half a billion dollars in the 2011-12 financial year as the number of claims for psychological injuries in the public sector – many based on accusations of bullying and harassment – increased.

According to the review's two reports – by Melbourne barrister Peter Hanks, QC, and former Defence Department head  Allan Hawke –  some long-running claims under the Comcare scheme   have exceeded $2 million.
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The review, ordered in 2012 by Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten, cited a case of taxpayers paying nearly $30,000 for massage therapy that had “no curative effect” and another of a Brisbane-based bureaucrat flown to a Buddhist meditation retreat in Alice Springs to treat his anxiety disorder.