ALA backs call for workers compensation for elite athletes

18th Jul 2014

The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has backed a call for professional athletes to be covered by workers compensation legislation.

The call for workers compensation arrangements for professional sportspeople was made by the Australian Athletes Alliance after Medicare warned sports bodies that professional athletes should not claim Medicare benefits for injuries for which their employers are liable.

ALA National President Geraldine Collins said professional sportspeople deserved to have the same peace of mind as all other employees when injured in the workplace.

“The proposal for professional athletes in Australia to be covered under workers compensation schemes is fair and reasonable,” Ms Collins said.

“Why should professional athletes fail to be covered by workers compensation? The same workplace risks and responsibilities are present, as is the same need for support following injury or disability.

“In Australia, there is a national move underway to ensure people are appropriately supported when they suffer disability or injury under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Part of this move must also be to ensure they are covered under workers compensation legislation,” Ms Collins said.

 “All people should be appropriately covered by workers compensation when they suffer injuries incurred while performing their work.”

“The ALA is calling for all professional athletes to be included within their appropriate State or Territory-based scheme,” Ms Collins said.

“The potential for very serious injuries exists in various sports. It is completely inadequate for professional sportspeople to be excluded from benefits when they are in fact performing their job.”