Tribunal: The Hon. John Pascoe AC CVO, Deputy President
The applicant, who was employed by the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) as a part-time hair and makeup artist, applied to the AAT for review of a workers’ compensation decision made by Comcare.
The applicant’s former manager allowed her to undertake tasks and responsibilities that were not within the scope of her role, including rostering shifts for other team members. When a new manager was appointed, a new coordinator position was created. The coordinator took on some of the out-of-scope tasks previously undertaken by the applicant. The applicant claimed she was injured, citing psychological symptoms and an adjustment disorder. She said she felt like she had been demoted and accused the SBS of workplace bullying. An external investigator found there was no basis to the bullying allegation.
Comcare agreed the applicant suffered from an adjustment disorder and that her condition satisfied the definition of ‘injury’ under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988. However, Comcare declined liability for the applicant’s claim, on the basis that the injury had occurred as a result of ‘reasonable administrative action taken in a reasonable manner’.
The applicant sought a reconsideration of Comcare’s decision and was unsuccessful. The applicant then applied to the AAT for a review of the reconsideration decision.
The AAT needed to consider whether the grounds on which the reconsideration decision had been made were valid. The AAT needed to decide:
whether the injury was sustained as a result of reasonable administrative action
if the injury was sustained as a result of reasonable administrative action, then whether that administrative action was taken in a reasonable manner in respect of the applicant’s employment.
The AAT found SBS followed normal processes for the creation and recruitment for the new role. There was a genuine business need for the position and this was approved by senior management. The AAT acknowledged that the SBS took steps to consult the applicant about the proposed changes and accommodate the applicant’s requests.
The AAT considered the actions and decisions made by SBS and determined the injury was suffered due to the employer’s reasonable administrative action and that the administrative action was taken in a reasonable manner.
As a result of these considerations, the AAT affirmed the decision made by Comcare.
Read the full decision on AustLII.
 Sections 5A and 5B of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth)
 This is an exception contained in section 5A(1) of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth)
 Section 5A(1) of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth)