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9.1.2 Property


Compensation is also payable under S15 of the SRCA for 'loss of or damage to property used by the employee'. Property, as defined in this context, has a very narrow meaning.

Section 4 of the SRCA says that property used by an employee:

...means an artificial limb or other artificial substitute, or a medical, surgical or other similar aid or appliance, used by the employee

Because of operational requirements, the ADF does not generally employ persons with disabilities requiring prosthetic replacement of limbs etc. Compensation claims for loss/damage to 'property' are therefore rare for RCG. However, claims are occasionally received for damage to prescription spectacles, which may be covered under S15.

The scheme of S15 is that the employee must have suffered an 'accident' but not have suffered a bodily injury, i.e. there was no injury because the 'property' was damaged in lieu of the employee's body.

Thus, to quote two actual cases:

  • a cadet on camp who swung his legs out of his bunk in the morning and crushed his spectacles lying on the ground did not suffer a compensable loss as he himself did not suffer an 'accident'
  • another cadet riding in the back of a unimog truck travelling along a narrow bush track was slashed across the face by an overhanging branch. His spectacles took most of the blow and although he himself was uninjured, the spectacle frames were bent and a lens broken. This was a compensable loss of property under S15.

Liability conceded under S15 entitles the claimant to the costs of repair or replacement of the 'property', but to no other payment or benefit under the Act.