Update on Changes to the Seacare Scheme

28 June 2017

Comcare and Seacare Legislation Amendment (Pension Age and Catastrophic Injury) Act 2017

On 15 June 2017 the Australian Parliament made the following minor, though important, changes to the Seacare compensation scheme for Australian seafarers:

  • payments of incapacity payments will continue until an employee’s pension age (which increases from July 2017 to 65½ years, and then increases by 6 months every 2 years until it reaches 67 in 2023), rather then the current age of 65;
  • compensation for household services and attendant care obtained as a consequence of a ‘catastrophic injury’ will not be limited to a maximum weekly allowance and instead will be for ‘such amount per week as is reasonable in the circumstances’.

Other changes to the Seacare scheme proposed by the Australian Government in the Seafarers and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 remain pending before the Australian Parliament.

Some of the pending proposed changes to the Seacare scheme include changing the degree of employment contribution for a disease from a ‘material‘ to a ‘significant’ degree, altering psychological injury coverage to exclude injuries suffered as a result of ‘reasonable administrative action taken in a reasonable manner’, changing the test for the coverage of the Seacare scheme, and abolishing the Seacare Authority and integrating its functions into Comcare.  Further details on these proposed changes can be found in our previous client update on the Australian Government’s Proposed Changes to the Seacare Scheme.

It is not yet known when these proposed changes to the Seacare scheme will be passed. We will keep you updated on further developments as they unfold.

For further information on these changes and how they may impact your operations, please contact a member of our team.

This article was written by Anthony Highfield, Partner, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers

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