The national workers compensation scheme will be tightened under the Abbott government overhaul to prevent reckless workers claiming for injuries caused through their own misconduct.
As part of its red tape repeal, the coalition has detailed a series of changes to the Comcare system, including removing restrictions on national companies able to self-insure under the scheme.
But the overhaul also targeted workers the government says “break the rules”, removing access to compensation for those injured as a result of their own “serious and wilful misconduct”.
Tabling the changes in parliament, Leader of the House Christopher Pyne said the compensation scheme should not include a “safety net” for workers who put themselves and other employees at risk.
“The Australian public rightly expects that employees should take personal responsibility for their actions,” he said on Wednesday.
In changes likely to provoke the ire of Labor and the unions, Mr Pyne said the government would also tighten compensation for injuries that occur during recess breaks.
Under the current system, claims could be made when a employee was injured out shopping, at a restaurant or playing sport away from work, he said.
The new laws would address this “unfair arrangement”, he said, while still protecting employees injured in the workplace or undertaking activities associated with their employment.
As flagged, the government will also open the Comcare system up to national companies, so they can avoid the duplication of having to deal with the various state-based systems.
There are 30 corporations now self insured under Comcare – including Telstra, Optus and the National Australia Bank – which the government says are benefiting from reduced red tape, costs and bureaucracy.
The Abbott government last year scrapped a 2007 Labor moratorium on new companies joining.
But the further changes would remove a requirement that companies be in competition with a commonwealth or former commonwealth authority to be eligible.
Debate on the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 has been adjourned.