Review of workers compensation laws for post-traumatic stress disorder

The Minister for Building and Construction, as Minister with portfolio responsibility for the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988, has initiated a review in accordance with section 162A of the Act. This is a review of presumptive provisions for certain workers for post‑traumatic stress disorder.

The Minister has asked the WorkCover Tasmania Board to co-ordinate review activities, consistent with its functions. Further, the Minister has approved and provided to the Board the specific terms of reference (see below) framing the review methodology and timeframe.

Following a public expression of interest, the Board has engaged Mr Stephen Carey and Dr Jacqueline Triffitt to undertake the review.

Terms of reference

Background

The Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (‘the Act’) establishes a rehabilitation and compensation scheme for workplace injuries in Tasmania.

Section 162A of the Act requires the Minister to cause a review as to whether the Act should be amended to include presumptive provisions for certain workers in relation to post-traumatic stress disorder. The review must be commenced by 30 June 2018, and a written report on the outcome of the review tabled in each House of Parliament on or before 1 October 2018.

The review must be carried out by appropriately qualified persons, one or more of whom are not employees of the State or Commonwealth or of any agency of the State or Commonwealth.

Scope of the Review

The review will be evidence-based and make recommendations on potential amendments, as and if required, to the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act.

In undertaking the review, the reviewer/s will have regard to the objectives of the Act (section 2A) and consult with the community and key stakeholders.

The review will consider:

  1. which persons covered by the Act, employed or appointed under an Act of the State, are placed at significant risk of contracting post-traumatic stress disorder in the course of their employment;
  2. whether there are persons covered by the Act but not employed or appointed under an Act of the State, that are placed at significant risk of contracting post-traumatic stress disorder in the course of their employment or involvement in activities covered by the Act;
  3. whether the Act should be amended to include provisions (‘presumptive provisions’) to the effect that, for the purposes of the Act, a person’s employment, appointment or other activity covered by the Act is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, taken to have contributed to a substantial degree to the contraction of that person of post-traumatic stress disorder;
  4. the qualifications that ought to be applied to the presumptive provisions (if any); and
  5. the persons for whom presumptive provisions (if any) ought to apply.