Whether the cost of insuring an aid or appliance is considered
an integral part of the aid or appliance pursuant to section 39 of
the SRC Act.
The applicant suffered from an underlying health condition that
was aggravated at work. Comcare accepted liability for the
aggravated condition and made a decision to provide the applicant
with a Segway as an aid or appliance under s 39(1)(e) of the SRC
The Tribunal was required to consider whether Comcare was liable
to meet an additional cost associated with the Segway –
namely, the cost of its insurance.
Section 16 of the SRC Act, provides that Comcare must pay
compensation for medical treatment, reasonably obtained in respect
of a compensable injury.
Section 39 of the SRC Act, provides that compensation may also
be payable in respect of any aids or appliances for use by the
employee, certain alterations to their place of residence or work
and vehicle modifications if required. The section also applies to
the repair or replacement of such aids or appliances.
The applicant submitted to the Tribunal that he used the Segway
every day to move about within the workplace, and the risk of some
sort of accident was always at the back of his mind. A number of
insurance companies told him that he could get the Segway insured
under a household contents insurance policy for $345.26 per year,
which included public liability cover that may protect the
applicant in the event of an accident involving the Segway and
Comcare contended that under the SRC Act, it did not have the
power to pay for the insurance costs. Comcare accepted that it had
an obligation to pay for the costs of acquiring, repairing and
replacing the Segway but not any other associated costs.
As an alternative argument, the applicant said that the Segway
was a form of reasonable medical treatment, and that the insurance
costs could be paid under section 16.
The Tribunal found that an insurance policy was a contractual
right against an insurer to provide cover against identified risks.
It was held not to be the type of assistance contemplated by the
expression "aid and appliance".
The Tribunal accepted that Comcare was not authorised to pay for
the insurance in respect of the Segway and its operation under
either s16 or 39 of the SRC Act, and affirmed the decision under
The decision confirms that section 39 of the SRC Act, requires
Comcare and licensees to compensate an employee for the cost of
acquiring, repairing or replacing an aid or appliance, but not to
pay compensation in respect of operating costs or insurance.
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The failure of a party to call a witness does not necessarily give rise to an adverse inference being drawn in accordance with Jones v Dunkel (1959) 101 CLR 298. An unfavourable inference is drawn only if evidence otherwise provides a basis on which that unfavourable inference can be drawn.
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