One in four govt workers comp payments for psychological issues

The authority that provides workers compensation for more than 190,000 Commonwealth government employees paid out $196.2 million in the last financial year, a report shows.  

An audit of Comcare released on Friday shows that over that period there were 4,500 claims under the no-fault scheme, of which one in four were for psychological issues.

The same proportion (24 per cent) were for disease, and 52 per cent were related to injury.

The report shows a steady drop in both the number of claims received, the incidence of serious claims and number of claims accepted in the last five years.

There’s also been a reduction in compensation payments from $250 million in the 2017-18 to less than $200 million last year.

Comcare workers’ compensation scheme claim numbers for Australian Government employees, 2017–18 to 2021–22 (ANAO)
Comcare workers’ compensation payments, 2017–18 to 2021–22 (ANAO)

Overall, Comcare got a tick from the Auditor General for it administration of the workers compensation scheme, finding business processes and systems were in place support effective claims management.

“Comcare’s governance arrangements enable effective oversight and management of claims,” Auditor General Grant Hehir concludes.

The report says Comcare has effectiveness and efficiency performance measures in place, however efficiency measures aren’t based on benchmarking, making it difficult to clearly demonstrate efficiency.

As at June 22, 193,312 federal government employees were covered by the scheme, with average premium rates 0.79 per cent of total payroll.

The scheme collected $161.6 million in premiums from government entities last financial year.