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Seacare is a national scheme of occupational health and safety (OHS), rehabilitation and workers' compensation arrangements which applies to defined seafaring employees and – in relation to OHS – defined third parties.
The scheme is overseen by the Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority – otherwise known as the Seacare Authority – which comprises an independent Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, two employer representatives and two employee representatives.
The Seacare Authority oversees the operation of the:
- Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (Seafarers Act) which establishes a workers' compensation and rehabilitation scheme for seafarers employed on certain ships engaged in trade or commerce within a Territory, interstate or overseas, and on other vessels declared by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority;
- Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation (Transitional Provisions and Consequential Amendments) Act 1992 (Transitional Act) which establishes the transitional arrangements from the Seamens Compensation Act 1911 to the Seafarers Act;
- Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Levy Act 1992 (Levy Act) which provides for a levy to be collected to support the Seafarers Safety Net Fund. The Safety Net Fund stands in the place of an employer where there is no employer against whom a seafarer can make a compensation claim;
- Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Levy Collection Act 1992 (Levy Collection Act) which establishes the levy collection procedures; and
- Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 (OHS (MI) Act) which provides an OHS regime for seafarers on vessels as above and offshore industry mobile units engaged in trade or commerce within a Territory, interstate or overseas.
The Authority also administers Regulations made under these Acts.
The strategic priorities of the Seacare Authority, derived from our functions and powers under the Seafarers Act and the OHS(MI) Act, are:
- Promote healthy and safe workplaces and appropriate and timely compensation for, and rehabilitation of, injured workers covered by the Seacare scheme.
- Maintain a scheme safety net that is able to meet its liabilities.
The Authority is comprised of a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, two employer representatives, two employee representatives and the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
Comcare provides policy, administrative and secretariat support to the Authority.
AMSA performs the inspectorate function for OHS matters.
Current members of the Seacare Authority are:
Mr Barry Sherriff
Ms Sue Weston, Chief Executive Officer, Comcare
Mr Dale Emmerton, National Marine Manager, SeaRoad Shipping Pty Ltd
Dr Penny Howard, National Research Officer, Maritime Union of Australia
Mr Nathan Niven, Senior National Organiser, Australian Institute of Marine Power Engineers
Mr Mick Kinley, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
The Seacare Authority has the following functions conferred on it by the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (the Seafarers Act):
- To monitor the operation of the Seafarers Act.
- To promote high operational standards of claims management and effective rehabilitation procedures by employers.
- To co-operate with other bodies or persons with the aim of reducing the incidence of injuries to employees.
- To publish material relating to the functions of the Authority.
- To advise the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations regarding the Authority's functions and powers and other matters relating to the compensation and rehabilitation of employees.
The Seacare Authority has the following functions conferred on it by the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 (OHS(MI) Act).
To ensure, in accordance with the OHS(MI) Act and the regulations, that the obligations imposed by or under the OHS(MI) Act and the regulations are complied with.
- To advise operators, employers or contractors, on occupational health and safety matters.
- To collect, interpret and report information relating to occupational health and safety.
- To formulate policies and strategies relating to the occupational health and safety of employees.
- To accredit OHS training courses for the purposes of s47 of the OHS(MI) Act.
- To liaise with other bodies concerned with occupational health and safety.
- To advise the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations on the performance of the above functions.
The Seacare Authority does not have its own staff. Comcare makes staff available to support the Seacare function, operating as the Seacare Secretariat.
The Seacare Secretariat undertakes the day to day regulatory functions of the Seacare Authority, and
The Seacare Secretariat, under the direction of the Seacare Authority, is responsible for:
- provision of secretariat, policy and strategic support to the Seacare Authority, and for implementing its decisions
- administering Seacare scheme legislation and monitoring the operation of such legislation
- managing the annual appropriation for supporting the Seacare function
- monitoring, and reporting on, Seacare scheme performance
- preparing an Annual Report to Parliament
- reporting to the Minister
- liaising and communicating with scheme stakeholders and other like regulators
- promoting the objectives of the Seacare scheme.
The Seacare Authority has developed a guide to the application of the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (Seafarers Act) to assist employers, brokers, insurers and other stakeholders in determining if the Act applies to particular employers, vessels and employees.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the Seacare Authority and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) – May 2012
- Cross-Agency Agreement between the Seacare Authority and Comcare