Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 06, 2022


Return to Work Scheme

In reply to the Hon. C. BONAROS ().16 June 2022).

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): I have been advised:

ReturnToWorkSA monitors significant legal matters which affect and define the boundaries of the Return to Work Scheme.

ReturnToWorkSA is aware of a number of ongoing matters which concern the interpretation and boundaries of the Full Court of the Supreme Court's decision in Summerfield.

The most directly relevant are the matters of Williams and English. I assume the second question relates to those matters.

The matter of Williams relates to an appeal lodged by the worker which is to be heard by the Court of Appeal. At the full bench of the South Australian Employment Tribunal, ReturnToWorkSA was successful in arguing that the reasoning in the decisions in Summerfield and Preedy did not apply to the worker's case.

The matter of English also involves similar questions as to the boundaries of the Summerfield decision. In that matter, ReturnToWorkSA is appealing a single judge decision of the SAET relating to the combination of impairments. The full bench of the SAET has determined to refer the matter straight to the Court of Appeal.

I am advised that, on 16 June 2022, the matters of English and Williams were joined so that the Court of Appeal may deal with both at the same time.

I wish to emphasise, particularly considering the passage of the Return to Work (Scheme Sustainability) Amendment Bill, that the scope of the legal dispute in the matters of Williams and English is to clarify the boundaries and application of the Summerfield decision.

I am advised that ReturnToWorkSA is not seeking to overturn to decision of Summerfield in those matters.