In Australia, state, territory and commonwealth governments have established an array of workers' compensation systems that collectively seek to achieve the greatest return to work outcomes at the lowest cost to society. While sharing this important public health objective, these systems differ substantially in approach. There is much variance between the schemes with respect to policy and practice and very little quality published evidence regarding the relative impact of policy settings on return to work outcomes.

The COMpensation Policy And Return to work Effectiveness (COMPARE) project was established to develop an evidence base that can support development and implementation of effective return to work policy in Australia.

The project adopts a comparative effectiveness methodology, comparing outcomes between jurisdictions and using sophisticated statistical techniques to identify policy settings that have positive, negative or neutral effects on return to work and duration of income replacement. We also compare outcomes before and after changes in policy, such as amendments to workers' compensation legislation.

The project team, led by Alex Collie, is supported by a national policy and data advisory group providing expert assistance, advice and guidance to the study investigators. The project is one part of a larger international study including Canadian and European workers' compensation jurisdictions.

The project involves analysis of the National Dataset of Compensated Based Statistics and the National Return to Work Survey. The COMPARE project started in 2015 and has produced many findings. Links to the major research reports, presentations, and journal articles are provided below.

The project is supported by funding from SafeWork Australia and Worksafe Victoria, and with data provision from all nine major workers' compensation jurisdictions in Australia.

The COMPARE Project was presented at our Return to Work Research Forum on March 1st, 2018. Presentations from the event are available here:

The latest reports from the COMPARE Project are available here.