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5.1 Notice and Claim Requirements
Section 53(1) and (2) of the SRCA require an employee to give notice in writing of an injury or loss of property as soon as practicable after the employee becomes aware of the injury and provided that the Act does not apply in relation to the injury or loss if this requirement is not met.
This strict requirement for notice is, however, ameliorated by S53(3), which deems notice to have been given if the determining authority would not be prejudiced by the failure to give notice or if the failure resulted from the death or absence from Australia of a person or from ignorance, mistake or any other reasonable cause.
Delegates are not to rely on the notice provisions to reject claims involving allegations of sexual and physical abuse as failure to report abuse satisfies the other reasonable cause exception.
The notice requirements for the 1971 Act, after 1 July 1986, was essentially the same as for the SRCA, however the notice requirements under the 1930 Act and the 1971 Act (before 1 July 1986) contained significant differences, which are discussed at parts 7 and 8 of the handbook.
Section 54 of the SRCA provides that compensation is not payable unless a claim has been made in writing to a determining authority 'in accordance with the form approved by Comcare' (S54(2)(a)) and the claim is accompanied by a certificate by a qualified medical practitioner (S54(2)(b)). Section 54(5) provides that substantial compliance with the approved form is sufficient.
It should be noted that notice of injury will, in some cases, be constituted by the employee giving a claim form to RCG. In other cases, the injury will already have been recorded in ADF records at Unit level or in a notification to the Defence Safety Management Authority.
As a matter of policy, the formal requirements for acceptance of claims made under the SRCA 1988 are applied to claims made under the 1971 Act and the 1930 Act.