Australia Post acknowledges and accepts the findings of the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) that delays in approving some workers’ compensation claims did occur in the 2013 and 2014 financial years.
Australia Post accepts all the additional conditions set as a result by the SRCC and is working immediately to comply with the directives.
In 2016, a former Australia Post employee made a complaint to the SRCC alleging that Australia Post had delayed the reporting of safety compensation claims, enabling management to benefit financially by achieving performance targets.
In December 2018, Christine Holgate, Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Australia Post attended a meeting with the SRCC. At this meeting she was requested to lead a further investigation into this matter and report back to the Board of the SRCC for its consideration.
Australia Post conducted a further and thorough investigation, reporting back their findings to the SRCC Chair in March.
The Australia Post investigation identified evidence that there were delays in approving some workers’ compensation claims in the 2013 and 2014 financial years. The investigation did not identify that the delays had materially impacted any manager’s bonus or resulted in any employee being financially disadvantaged. Further, those employees who required treatment did obtain the requisite care.
Since commencing this investigation Australia Post has conducted a thorough audit across its facilities, to ensure the previous practice of delaying the reporting of claims is not ongoing. The result of this audit gives Australia Post confidence this is no longer systematically occurring.
Christine Holgate said: “The findings of this investigation for the SRCC are disappointing and although we cannot turn back the years, we have given all our employees our pledge that their safety is our greatest priority going forward. If any employee is injured, we will do all we can to ensure they get the right support promptly.”
Australia Post has significantly improved its workers’ compensation processes and controls, including how it manages, measures and reports safety and compensation claims. Our increased investments will significantly address safety within the organisation as part of our comprehensive new strategy. This is already delivering encouraging results, although there is more work to do. Australia Post is pleased to report that in the last 6 months almost 95% of our injured employees were seen by a doctor within 24 hours; there are now 344 clinics with 1775 doctors qualified in our network to consult with our employees; 86% of all employees live within 5 kilometres of a clinic and 96% within 10 kilometres and not least, tele-health services are available 24 hours a day, 365 days of a year.
Ms Holgate said: “For Australia Post, restoring and rebuilding the trust in our safety and compensation systems is imperative for all our stakeholders. Today, we can commence that journey”.