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7.1.1 Provisions of the SRCA 1988
Section 53(1) of the SRCA provides that:
53(1)This Act does not apply in relation to an injury to an employee unless notice in writing of the injury is given to the relevant authority:
a)as soon as practicable after the employee becomes aware of the injury, or
b)if the employee dies without having become so aware or before it is practicable to serve such a notice – as soon as practicable after the employee's death.
Section 53(2) makes a similar provision for damage to 'property used by the employee'.
The purpose and application of S53 was considered in Re Tierney and Reserve Bank of Australia (1988) where it was said:
...Section 53 is clearly intended to protect the Commonwealth and its instrumentalities from being placed in a situation where they are unable to disprove an employee's assertion of an injury alleged to have occurred on some specific occasion in the course of the employees work or of a disease contracted because of some brief and transient situation. Some such provision is clearly needed to prevent abuse of the Act. However where an appropriate officer of the Commonwealth or the relevant instrumentality is made aware at an appropriate time of the alleged injury or disease and the circumstances in which it was suffered or contracted, the Commissioner and the Tribunal would we believe, be slow to hold that a claim for compensation for the incapacity resulting from that injury or disease must fail because S53 has not been complied with to the letter.