- About the WICC
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About the WICC
The Workplace Incidents Consultative Committee (the WICC) is a lived experience committee that commenced in June 2021 to strengthen the voice of Victorians who have been affected by a serious workplace incident.
The WICC is established under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Act) to provide advice to the Minister for Workplace Safety about:
- the needs of persons affected by workplace incidents involving death, serious injury or serious illness, and
- the development, review and improvement of policies, practices, strategies and systems relating to serious workplace incidents and occupational health and safety more generally.
The WICC comprises up to 15 members with lived experience of a serious workplace incident involving death, serious injury or illness, and one government member. Members are appointed by the Minister for Workplace Safety. A list of members is available below.
The WICC’s work is supported by the Victorian Government’s Families and Injured Workers System Reform Fund (Fund), which provides $4 million over four years to support reforms and initiatives recommended by the WICC.
The WICC’s key achievements since it was established in June 2021 are outlined below.
- Provided advice to WorkSafe Victoria (WorkSafe) to influence legislative amendments included in the Workplace Safety Legislation and Other Matters Amendment Act 2022. This included:
- extending the duration of household support available to families following a work-related death to be provided for six months following a worker’s death, instead of three months.
- extending compensation to cover costs incurred outside of Australia related to a funeral, burial, cremation, or repatriation of a deceased worker’s body.
- Provided advice to WorkSafe on the design of the bereavement support service provided to families after a workplace death, including:
- basing the service on a companion model of support, with one central point of contact staying with the bereaved family throughout their journey to provide them with tailored care), and
- ensuring families with complex needs or ongoing court matters can continue accessing support beyond 12 months.
- Appointed observers to WorkSafe’s Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee (OHSAC) and the Workplace Advisory Committee (WAC), providing valuable lived experience perspectives to these committees and reporting back to the Committee to inform its work.
- Provided initial advice to support WorkSafe’s implementation of the Government Response to Peter Rozen QC’s review, Improving the experience of injured workers: A review of WorkSafe Victoria's management of complex workers' compensation claims (Review). WICC is continuing to engage with WorkSafe to inform implementation of these reforms.
The WICC currently comprises 14 lived experience members and one Government representative. Members are appointed by the Minister for a period of no longer than three years, with eligibility to be re-appointed for one additional term.
The WICC is co-chaired by the Government member and a lived experience member, who is elected by the lived experience members.
Dr Lana Cormie – Non-Government Co-Chairperson and lived experience member
Lana is the Lived Experience Co-Chair of the WICC. Lana currently works in OHS Training and Support. Her background includes work as a Veterinary Surgeon and in Animal Welfare. Lana’s husband, Charlie Howkins, was one of two men killed in the Delacombe Trench Collapse while working for Pipecon Pty Ltd. Since 2018, Lana has been an active advocate for workplace safety reform. She brings significant experience to the WICC as a previous member of the Families Reference Group (FRG) and the Workplace Manslaughter Implementation Taskforce, relevant OHS qualifications and professional experience.
Ms Bronwyn Halfpenny MP – Government Co-Chairperson
Bronwyn is the State Member for Thomastown in Victoria’s Legislative Assembly and has been the Parliamentary Secretary for Workplace Safety since June 2020. Before entering Parliament, Bronwyn worked as the Secretary of Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union Food and Confectionary Division, and as the Industrial Officer at Victorian Trades Hall Council. These roles provided hands-on experience of workplace safety legislation and how the system supported people injured at work. She was also chair for the inquiry into the CFA Training College at Fiskville and co chair of the Victorian Government’s Ministerial Taskforce on Workplace Sexual Harassment.
Ms Samantha Burns – Deputy Non-Government Co-Chairperson and lived experience member
Samantha’s brother, Shaun Burns, was killed at work in September 2018 when a crane failed, dropping concrete on him and another worker. She brings to the WICC strong advocacy experience as an FRG member and is motivated to improve compensation and support for close family members of persons killed in workplace incidents who are not dependents. As a Clinical Neuropsychologist, she also has experience seeing the issues that arise for workers and families following a serious injury.
Dr Sarah Anderson – Lived experience member
Sarah lost the use of her left arm after suffering a workplace injury in 2004. She has firsthand experience of returning to work following an injury. She has completed a PhD examining workplace injuries and contributes valuable professional skills to the WICC, including strong board, leadership and healthcare experience, along with knowledge of regulatory systems and research and evaluation skills.
Mr Dave Brownlee – Lived experience member
Dave’s son, Jack Brownlee, was killed in the Delacombe trench collapse, along with his friend Charlie Howkins in March 2018 while working for Pipecon Pty Ltd. Dave has significant experience with WorkCover processes and was a member of the FRG and Taskforce.
Mr Neil Kermeen – Lived experience member
Neil’s son, Jake, died in a trench collapse in East Cranbourne in 2015 while working as a labourer for R.S. Connell and Sons Pty Ltd. He has experience providing constructive, well-reasoned advice as a member of the FRG. He also adds the perspective of being an employer and is passionate about the prevention of workplace deaths and serious incidents.
Mr Francis Malek – Lived experience member
Francis suffered a serious hand injury in 2011 while working for an abattoir. He has also suffered psychological trauma as a result of the incident. In addition to his lived experience, Francis is an active member of the Sudanese community and provides support and education to Sudanese families and recent migrants. He will bring a valuable perspective to the WICC on how the system can provide better support to migrant cultures.
Mr Elvis Martin – Lived experience member
Elvis Martin is a young leader who has overcome very difficult circumstances and inspires many with his advocacy for social justice. The recipient of awards such as Young Community Achiever of the Year 2021 (India Australia Business and Community Awards), Elvis has worked, volunteered and spoken publicly in many roles, addressing mental health, homelessness, family violence, workplace safety and LGBTIQA+ community issues. Elvis also sits on various community and government boards. He uses his platform, including a large social media following, to promote inclusion, diversity and equality for all.
Elvis is particularly passionate about:
- the work of the WICC and bringing a youth and multicultural lens to inform the WICC’s work
- workplace safety for young people, including raising awareness around safety issues in the workplace and making sure employees and employers understand their respective rights and obligations
- advocating for better support to victims of sexual assault, bullying and harassment.
Ms Catherine Mok – Lived experience member
Catherine’s partner, Helen, died by suicide while working as a paramedic with Ambulance Victoria. Prior to her death, Helen suffered musculoskeletal injuries over a 16-year period and struggled with mental health issues related to her job. Catherine has experience with different aspects of the WorkCover system and court and coronial inquest processes. She contributes to the WICC the unique perspective of being impacted by a workplace suicide and also brings diversity as a member of both the CALD and LGBTQI communities.
Mrs Bette Phillips-Campbell – Lived experience member
Bette’s son died in 1991 after being electrocuted while working as an apprentice. While 30 years have passed since the incident, Bette has made a significant contribution to workplace safety reform as a member of the FRG and also contributes strong experience working with families affected by workplace fatalities as a counsellor for GriefWork Uniting. She also brings a regional perspective to the WICC.
Ms Annmarie Saffin – Lived experience member
Annmarie is the carer for her husband, Mark, who sustained serious injuries in 2015 when an elevated work platform he was on fell from 11 meters. Mark suffers ongoing secondary mental health & physical injury as a result of his accident. Annmarie offers the WICC the unique perspective of being a caregiver who has had to navigate the system on behalf of her husband. She has more than 20 years’ experience working in public health as a Clinical Nurse Consultant and currently works in a management role within the local government sectors.
Mr Ralph Snider – Lived experience member
Ralph suffered pain in his forearms resulting in a chronic pain condition while working as a Senior Analyst Programmer in 1992 and suffered a recurrence in 2004. Ralph has lived experience managing a long-term injury that ultimately led him to change careers in 2005 to become a Disability Employment Consultant. He subsequently worked as a Vocational Consultant in the Occupational Rehabilitation Industry assisting people on WorkCover and Traffic Accident Commission cover to find work. He completed a Graduate Diploma in Careers Education and Development in 2010 and a Feldenkrais Training program in 2001.
Mr Michael Stone – Lived experience member
In July 2020, Mick’s workmate was fatally crushed in a workplace incident whilst working at an engineering facility. In 2019 he lost his mate to a farming incident that occurred on his mate’s own property. Mick’s mother-in-law is a partial paraplegic from a workplace incident. Mick brings to the Committee the unique perspectives of being affected by a farm fatality, experiencing the impacts on mental health in his workplace as well as understanding issues for those with life changing injuries. Mick has experience with ComCare, working in a supervisory role and as a Health and Safety Representative.
Mr Brett Struhs – Lived experience member (WAC observer)
Brett’s son, Kyle, died in November 2018 from head injuries sustained falling from a ladder while installing solar panels for Solar 2.0. He brings valuable experience from being an FRG member, has experienced the whole WorkCover process from death to court case and brings a regional perspective to the WICC.
Mr James Wood – Lived experience member (OHSAC observer)
James was seriously injured in a workplace incident that resulted in him being paraplegic. He is a prominent lived experience workplace health and safety advocate and established CNBSafe, a safety information and training consultancy that connects injured workers as safety speakers at workplaces to share their "real life" experiences with both employees and employers.
Contact the WICC
If you would like to get in touch with the WICC, including to consult the WICC on a topic or project, please refer to:
- Principles of Consultation and Engagement
- Consultation Form
You can contact the WICC via the Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org (External link)