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Chapter 2: The Seacare Authority – performance of its statutory functions
- 2.1 Seacare Authority accountability framework
- 2.2 The Outcome and Output for 2003 – 04
- 2.3 The Seacare scheme – national context
- 2.4 Seacare Authority Strategic Plan 2002 – 03 to 2003 – 04
- 2.5 Seacare Business Plan 2003 – 04
- 2.6 Relationships with national OHS and workers’ compensation bodies
- 2.7 Outlook for 2004 – 05
Table 2 below provides a schematic representation of the Seacare Accountability Framework, and provides an overview of the matters covered in this Chapter.
2.1 The Seacare Authority Accountability Framework
During 2003 – 04 the Authority contributed towards Comcare’s Outcome Minimise human and financial costs of workplace injury in the Commonwealth jurisdiction. The Output expected of the Seacare Authority in assisting to meet this Outcome was to Regulate the Seacare scheme of workers’ compensation, rehabilitation and occupational health and safety.
Three measures for assessing the performance of the Seacare Authority in meeting this Output were identified in the PBS. These are: (i) the incidence of workplace injuries (target: 40% reduction by 30
June 2012); (ii) incidence of work related fatalities (target: zero for the 10 years to 30 June 2012); and (iii) Seacare scheme performance meets Seacare Authority requirements.
Achievement of performance measure (i) would require, on average, a 4% reduction in the injury incidence rate per year. On present trends it will be difficult to achieve the 10 year target. Over the year the incidence of injuries decreased by just 0.80% using the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC) definition of injuries and increased by 4.17% using the Seacare definition of injuries.
The scheme met performance measure (ii), as there were no work related fatalities in the maritime industry covered by the OHS(MI) Act over the year.
With respect to performance measure (iii) the Authority has significant concerns with the performance of the Seacare scheme and has put in place strategies to address adverse trends.
The Seacare scheme is one of ten rehabilitation and workers’ compensation schemes in Australia and one of two such schemes operating under Commonwealth legislation (Comcare being the other). It is one of eleven OHS schemes and one of three operating under Commonwealth legislation (Comcare and the offshore oil and gas sector, regulated by the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) pursuant to the OHS schedule of the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967 being the others). As a Commonwealth statutory authority the Seacare Authority is guided by Commonwealth Government policy.
The Authority adopted a two year Strategic Plan (2002 – 03 to 2003 – 04) in August 2002. The Strategic Plan was established around the Authority’s mission to take a leading role in minimising the human and financial costs of workplace injury in the Australian maritime industry.
Having regard to the Output specified in the Portfolio Budget Statements, the Authority’s Strategic Plan is built around its regulatory responsibilities associated with administration of scheme legislation
In relation to administration of the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993, the Authority’s objective is: to secure the health, safety and welfare at work of maritime industry employees; in relation to administration of the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992, the Authority’s objective is: to promote an efficient and effective scheme of rehabilitation, return to work and compensation for maritime industry employees; and in relation to the administration of the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Levy Act 1992 and Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Levy Collection Act 1992 the Authority’s objective is: to efficiently administer the Seafarers Safety Net Fund and supporting levy collection arrangements.
Within this framework the Strategic Plan places a high priority on policy development and practical initiatives aimed at:
- monitoring the operation of the Seafarers Act;
- ensuring that the obligations imposed by the OHS(MI) Act and regulations are complied with;
- promoting high operational standards of claims management and effective rehabilitation procedures by employers;
- cooperating with other bodies or persons with the aim of reducing the incidence of injuries to employees;
- publishing material relating to the operation of the Act, to claims management and rehabilitation and relating to the incidence of injuries;
- formulating policies and strategies relating to the occupational health and safety of employees;
- advising operators, employees or contractors on OHS matters;
- collecting, interpreting and reporting information relating to OHS;
- liaising with other bodies concerned with OHS;
- accrediting OHS representatives training courses;
- advising the Minister on rehabilitation, compensation and in relation to OHS, on the most effective means of giving effect to the objects of the OHS(MI) Act, on the making of OHS regulations and on approval of codes of practice; and
- monitoring the operation of the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Levy Act 1992 and Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Levy Collection Act 1992 and regulations.