Australia: What's News: Commonwealth Compensation

Focus: Decisions for the week ending 4 May 2012
Services: Insurance
Industry Focus: Insurance

Decisions for the week ending 4 May 2012


No decisions.

Medical expenses

Youssouf and Telstra Corporation Limited [2012] AATA 251 (30 April 2012)

One of the issues before the Tribunal was whether Telstra Corporation Limited (the Respondent) continued to be liable to pay compensation for medical expenses with respect to the Applicant's accepted lower back injury from 13 July 2010 to date pursuant to section 16 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) (the Act).

Mr Youssouf (the Applicant) was employed by Telstra Corporation Limited (the Respondent) as a Communications Technician from 1999 to 26 January 2011. On 10 March 2009, the Applicant claimed compensation for a back injury which had occurred on 30 December 2008. On 28 April 2009, the Respondent accepted liability for the condition and subsequently, on 13 July 2010, determined that it had no present liability to pay the Applicant compensation for medical treatment or incapacity benefits.

The Tribunal was satisfied that the Applicant continued to suffer the effects of his accepted back injury beyond 13 July 2010 and as a result was entitled to ongoing compensation for medical expenses.

Ultimately, the Tribunal set aside the decision under review and substituted it with a decision to the effect that the Applicant was entitled to compensation in respect of medical expenses beyond 13 July 2010.


Youssouf and Telstra Corporation Limited [2012] AATA 251 (30 April 2012)

The other issue required to be determined by the Tribunal in this matter was whether the Respondent was liable to pay weekly incapacity benefits in respect of the Applicant's accepted lower back injury pursuant to section 19 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) (the Act).

The Tribunal accepted that the Applicant suffered from ongoing incapacity due to his accepted lower back condition. It also found that whilst the Applicant was unable to continue his full duties as a Communications Technician, he was able to undertake suitable light duties on a full-time basis.

As to the quantum of compensation payable to the Applicant, the Tribunal was of the view that the Applicant had received an offer of suitable employment and that the Applicant's failure to accept this offer was unreasonable in the circumstances. As such, the Tribunal decided that the quantum of compensation payable to the Applicant in respect of incapacity benefits was to be determined with regard to the amount of earnings that the Applicant would have received if he had accepted the offer of suitable employment.

Carpenter and Comcare [2012] AATA 260 (4 May 2012)

The Tribunal was convened to determine the correct calculation of weekly incapacity benefits payable to Mr Carpenter (the Applicant) pursuant to section 19 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) (the Act).

The Applicant worked for the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) from 1975 until 1983 or 1984 before being employed with the Australian Construction Service (ACS) until July 1992. The Applicant sustained a psychological injury as a result of his employment with BOM. BOM was held to be liable for the Applicant's condition, and the date of injury was deemed to be 29 November 1990.

The issue before the Tribunal was whether the Applicant's normal weekly earnings (NWE) should be calculated by reference to his earnings at ACS during the two-week period prior to 29 November 1990, or his rate of employment with BOM if his employment had continued until that date. Comcare (the Respondent) contended that the former proposition was correct, whilst the Applicant contended that the latter was correct. The Applicant submitted that it would be unfair and inappropriate to calculate his NWE by reference to his position with ACS because he would have continued in his position at BOM if it were not for the circumstances that led to his injury. The Applicant submitted that the rate of salary that he received at BOM was significantly higher than the salary he received at ACS.

The Tribunal referred to the calculation of NWE in section 19(2) which makes reference to the 'relevant period', that being the two weeks before the date of the injury. The date of injury in the present case was 29 November 1990, at which time the Applicant was employed with ACS. The Tribunal did not consider section 8 to apply to the Applicant's circumstances.

In light of these findings, the Tribunal remitted the matter to the Respondent to calculate the Applicant's entitlement to compensation based on his income from ACS in accordance with sections 8, 9 and 19 of the Act.

Permanent impairment

No decisions.

Non-economic loss

No decisions.

Practice and procedure

No decisions.


No decisions.


No decisions.

Section 6A: Unintentional consequences

No decisions.

Exclusions and reasonable administrative action

No decisions.

Journey claims

No decisions.

Notice provisions and time limits

No decisions.

Recovery of compensation

No decisions.

Entitlement to benefits

No decisions.

Aids and appliances

No decisions.

Household assistance

No decisions.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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