Australia Meat Holdings Pty Ltd v Sayers [2007] QCS 390

In a number of compensation cases, it appears as though some Plaintiff solicitors are reluctant to provide authorities from their clients in the form required by Commonwealth bodies such as Medicare Australia. A recent decision by Justice Daubney in the Supreme Court of Queensland, affirmed the requirements of parties to comply with the requirements of the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

In this matter, Daubney J held that Section 275(5) provides an obligation on the Claimant to provide a written authority allowing the insurer to obtain information, including copies of relevant documents to the claim. During the hearing reference was made to what is “relevant” however his Honour concluded that “the mechanism for obtaining that relevant information will result in the Applicant also being provided with the irrelevant information”. His Honour then cited Suncorp Metway Insurance Limited v Brown to show that information obtained in this process must only be used for the purposes of the claim, thus allowing an insurer access to information, but also protecting the individual.

Given the above, it was held that it was not acceptable for the Claimant or his/her legal representative to filter information received from Medicare and this is not what was intended by the legislation.

Other issues

In his Judgment, Daubney J thought it wise that a Medicare prospective should be gained on these issues. That is, about how Medicare are able to refuse to release information and how a Medicare Officer would approach the task of sifting through information to determine relevance. However, as no such evidence was brought at the hearing, this issue was not decided.


Ultimately the Court ordered that the Respondent provide the Applicant with an authority directed to Medicare in the approved form as required by the Act. His Honour said that this complies with the object and purposes of the Act for a Claimant to co-operate with the insurer for the purposes of assessing a claim.

Kate Brodnik
And Amanda Karpeles

Posted: Mon, 14 Jan 2008 09:05:42 +1000 By: Kate and Amanda

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