Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (review)
This page provides general information and shouldn't be considered legal advice. Seek legal advice if you're unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.
VCAT can review certain decisions made by the Victorian WorkCover Authority such as Return to Work improvement notices, premiums and the conduct of agents and professional service providers under the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013.
Victorian WorkCover Authority is also known as WorkSafe Victoria.
Cases we can hear
Return to Work improvement notices
VCAT can review decisions made by the Authority about Return to Work improvement notices issued to an employer.
If you're directly affected by a Return to Work improvement notice, such as an employer or an employee, then you may be eligible to apply for a review of the decision.
Except for a decision to vary or cancel a Return to Work improvement notice, you must first apply to the Authority for an internal review of the decision. You can apply for a VCAT review if you're still dissatisfied with the Authority's decision after their review, or the Authority doesn't make a decision within the required timeframe.
VCAT can review decisions made about premiums, penalties and estimated future claim costs (reviewable amounts). If you're an employer unhappy with a decision about a reviewable amount, you must first apply to the Authority for an internal review.
You can apply for a VCAT review after any of the following:
- you're still unhappy after the Authority's review
- the Authority declines to review the amount
- the Authority doesn't make a decision within the required timeframe.
Agents and professional service providers
VCAT can review certain decisions made by the Authority about the conduct of agents or providers of professional services (such as medical and legal services) associated with claims for compensation.
An agent is a person who acts for, advises, or assists a person with a claim or prospective claim for compensation from the Authority, but doesn't include a legal practitioner. If an agent engages in prohibited conduct (defined in section 560 of the Act), the Authority can restrict the agent from recovering costs, fees or other charges associated with any claim for compensation. The Authority may also make a direction prohibiting the agent from acting for someone with any claim, either absolutely or in certain circumstances. VCAT can review these decisions.
VCAT can also review certain decisions by the Authority about the conduct of professional service providers, including:
- suspending the payment of costs for professional services
- deeming costs for professional services not payable
- suspending or revoking their approval to provide professional services for compensation claims
- issuing a warning for the provider’s conduct
- initiating a review of the provider’s conduct.
In some cases, the Authority may refer concerns regarding the conduct of a professional service provider to the relevant body responsible for regulating that profession. VCAT can't review a decision to make a referral.
Cases we can't help with
We can’t accept:
- some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation
- cases heard under federal law instead of Victorian law.
Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications
Sections 151, 478(2)(a), 565(5), 566(5) and 574 of the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013
Documents you need to apply
Attach a decision letter from the Victorian Workcover Authority (also known as WorkSafe Victoria) with your application.
For VCAT reviews about work improvement notices, you must apply within 14 days of the decision. Otherwise, you can apply within 14 days of receiving a statement of reasons or are notified you will not receive a statement of reasons.
For VCAT reviews about premiums, you must apply within the following timeframes:
- within 60 days of the Authority's decision
- at least 90 days after the Authority suspended their review
- after 90 days of applying for an internal review and the Authority has not yet made a decision.
For VCAT reviews about professional service providers, you must apply within 12 months of the date on which you became aware of the decision.
For VCAT reviews about agents, there is no time limit for your application.
If you apply outside of the time limit, VCAT may extend the time for making an application. You must ask for an extension of time by indicating this on the 'extension of time' question of the application form and briefly explaining why your application was late.
VCAT will ask the decision maker if they agree to any extension. If the decision maker doesn't agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant an extension.
Putting the original decision on hold
In most cases, applying for a review doesn't put the original decision on hold and that decision stands until VCAT makes its decision.
If you want the original decision put on hold, you must ask for this by indicating you want a 'stay' on the application form and briefly explaining why you're seeking a stay.
VCAT will ask the decision-maker if they agree to any stay. If the decision-maker doesn't agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant a stay.
What can VCAT order?
For applications about premiums and reviewable amounts, we can confirm or adjust the reviewable amount or vary the determination.
For all other applications, VCAT can:
- affirm the original decision, in which case it will stand
- vary the decision
- set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
- set aside the decision and send back the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker giving directions or recommendations
- invite the decision maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case. For determinations relating to professional service providers, the Authority must reconsider its decision within 28 days of receiving your application.
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We can't give you legal advice. This means we can't tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you're unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You don't need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you want to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.
Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.
Find legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.