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Safety Net Fund & levy

For: Claimants Employers and managers Advocates Information seekers

A fund is in place to protect employees who no longer have an employer to make a workers’ compensation claim against. This fund is financed through a levy.

Seafarers Safety Net Fund


The Seafarers Safety Net Fund is, as the names suggests, designed to be a safety net for employees in the Seacare scheme who have a work-related injury or illness but no employer to claim against as a result of certain events or circumstances.

When it applies

The Seafarers Safety Net Fund is a safety net ‘employer’ that stands in the place of a scheme employer when a default event occurs. In so doing, it enables impacted seafarers to make a claim for compensation under the Seafarers Act.

A default event is defined in the Seafarers Act as happening when the employer:

  • becomes bankrupt or insolvent
  • applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of insolvents
  • compounds with the employer’s creditors for their benefit
  • if the employer is a body corporate – is wound up or ceases to exist, or
  • no longer engages in trade or commerce in Australia.

In addition, a default event requires that the employer is unable to meet the employer’s liabilities under the Seafarers Act.

How a claim against the fund works

The Seafarers Safety Net Fund determines the claim in the same way an employer would under the Seafarers Act.

Any benefits are paid to the employee from the Seafarers Safety Net Fund.

Where there is a workers’ compensation insurance policy covering the employee, the Seafarers Safety Net Fund has the same rights as the employer who took out the policy to recover benefits from the policy.

Safety Net Fund levy

Money received through a levy maintains the Seafarers Safety Net Fund.

Who pays the levy

Employers who employ or engage employees on prescribed ships that are subject to the Seafarers Act are required to pay the Safety Net Fund levy.

The levy is payable each quarter. Invoices are not issued for the levy payment.

Levy rate

The rate of the levy is determined by the Minister for Industrial Relations.

The rate of the levy is set out in the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Levy Regulations 2022.

The levy rate as at 1 April 2022 is $65 per seafarer’s berth.

When the levy must be paid

Employers are required to pay the levy to the Seacare Authority within 14 days of the first day of each quarter (1 January, 1 April, 1 July, 1 October).

At this time, employers must also lodge a Berths and Levy Return and keep a register. See Berths and Levy Return reporting for instructions.

See Seafarers Safety Net Fund Return and Levy Payment procedures (PDF, 205.9 KB) for further information about steps to follow and where to lodge and pay the levy.

When payment isn’t made

The Seacare Authority has compliance procedures (PDF, 95.3 KB) that will be followed for any levies not paid by the due date.

Actions can include:

  • correspondence with the CEO or General Manager of the company noting the breach of the Seacare Authority’s reporting requirements
  • if the levy payment remains outstanding, the Seacare Authority has the power to detain the ship
  • referral of the matter to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) for prosecutorial action where the berth return has not been provided.

More information

See Employer reporting obligations for a full list of reporting requirements.

See Making a claim for workers' compensation if you are an employee and need to make a claim on the Seafarers Safety Net Fund.

Page last reviewed: 26 April 2022
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Date printed 21 May 2024