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7.1.2 What services/tasks are not considered household services?

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Last amended 
1 February 2017
Household maintenence services

The AAT decision in Todd v Department of Defence [1993] AAT No. 9004 (4 August 1993) confirmed that household services does not include the provision of household maintenance services. Accordingly the following types of services are not household services as defined in section 213 of the MRCA or section 29 of SRCA:

  • painting and decorating (exterior and interior);
  • washing, servicing, repairing or maintaining family vehicles;
  • repairing fences, doors and windows;
  • plumbing;
  • electrical repairs;
  • tree maintenance -includes removing, lopping, trimming, drilling and treating;
  • the installation of synthetic lawn;
  • landscaping; and
  • removal of large items of rubbish, such as old furniture or white goods that do not fit in normal household bins.
Car cleaning

The AAT decision in Pembshaw and Department of Defence [1996] AATA 691 (18 June 1996) confirmed that car cleaning (of the interior and the exterior of the vehicle) was excluded from the definition of household services as the car could not regarded as part of the applicant's house and curtilage.

Professional services

In Lander v Comcare [2000] FCA 339 (14 March 2000) Finn J stated '...the household services envisaged are those provided by the household members themselves ... they are not services for which those members make provision for the injured employee through the agency of third party providers.' This means that any services for which a householder might usually or reasonably need to employ a professional service provider would not normally fall within the definition of a household service.

An exception may be considered where it can be proved that the person has the appropriate qualifications and accreditation to undertake specific types of household maintenance themselves and would have completed these tasks themselves prior to their service related injury or disease. For example, provision of household services for electrical repairs could be considered if the client was a qualified professional electrician who is now unable to undertake electrical maintenance themselves because of their service related injury or disease.

Packing and unpacking boxes when moving house

Assistance with moving house, including the packing and unpacking of moving boxes, cannot be considered under the household services provisions because:

  • it is not a regular task that is required for the proper running and maintenance of the person's home; and
  • it is not unreasonable or unusual for a professional removalist to be employed to assist with house moving.

This applies regardless of whether the person would have undertaken this task themselves prior to their service related injury or disease.