Latest news

This page will be regularly updated to feature the latest news about the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) Payment Scheme.

Update as of 1 May 2017:

  • Registrations for the scheme have now closed

Updates as of 13 April 2017:

  • New videos to watch and share
  • How can nominees help?
  • Updated resources

Updates as of 24 February 2017:

Updates as of 23 February 2017:

Updates as of 16 December 2016:

For more information about the BSWAT Payment Scheme, call the hotline on 1800 799 515 or send an email to bswatpayments@dss.gov.au.

Registrations for the scheme have now closed

Registrations for the BSWAT Payment Scheme closed at midnight on 30 April 2017.
Supported employees or nominees who registered before 30 April 2017 should now apply for a payment, if they haven’t already done so.
If a person did not register with the scheme before 30 April 2017, they cannot apply for a payment - even if they may have been eligible.
More than 10,500 people registered for the scheme, and around 8,000 people have applied for a payment so far. The Department is currently working through all of the registrations and applications, and will contact people as soon as possible.

New videos to watch and share

New videos are now available to watch and share:

Our videos featuring people with intellectual impairment, were tested with supported employees, and have captions and audio descriptions.

How can nominees help?

Applicants to the scheme can nominate a person to be their nominee for the scheme. A nominee is often a trusted relative, friend, associate or guardian.
A nominee:

  • helps the applicant to understand the application process and what the scheme is offering them
  • helps the applicant to understand their options and the decisions they need to make
  • considers the applicant’s opinions and preferences when making a decision
  • helps the applicant to communicate their preferences and any questions they have
  • knows enough about the applicant’s  finances to be able to fulfil their duties as a nominee
  • respects the applicant’s human rights
  • respects the applicant’s cultural and linguistic background and makes sure they have an appropriate way of communicating with the applicant about the scheme.

If you have a state or public trustee, or a trustee company and they assist you with financial matters they should be your nominee for the scheme.
Our video You can choose a nominee explains what people need to do to choose a nominee. For more detailed information, have a look at our booklet for families, advocates and nominees.

Updated resources

There are updated information resources for families, advocates and nominees; ADEs; and legal advisors and financial counsellors.

Easy Read web page is now available

We have published an easy read version of the BSWAT Payment Scheme website.

The Easy Read web page contains important information about the BSWAT Payment Scheme, in simple English, in an easy-to-read format.

The Easy Read BSWAT Payment Scheme web page can be found here.

First BSWAT Payment Scheme video released

We have released a short video entitled BSWAT Payment Scheme. The video explains why it is important that eligible people register for the scheme by 30 April 2017.

The video is the first of a series of accessible videos we are making to explain important details about the scheme to people who think they may be eligible people and their supporters.

All videos feature, and have been tested with, supported employees with intellectual impairment.

All videos are captioned, have an audio description, and are being developed in consultation with an accessibility and Easy Read expert.

We will release more videos soon.

We have written to potentially eligible people

We have written to around 15,000 people who our records indicate may be eligible for a payment. We included an application form and reply-paid envelope, and advised them of the Federal Court’s ruling approving the settlement of the BSWAT class action.

Supported employees who may be eligible had the option of completing the application form, putting it in the reply-paid envelope, and posting  it so we received their form by 30 April 2017.

By completing the form, the Department automatically registered them for the scheme as will process their application for a payment.
If an employee needed more time to make a decision, they could register for the schemeby 30 April 2017. They then have until 30 November 2017 to apply for a payment.

Employees can ask someone they trust to help them to register and apply. This could be a family member, advocate, nominee or someone in their ADE.

You can now apply for the scheme online

You can now apply for the scheme online using an online form.

You can also appoint a Nominee online by completing a nominee application smartform.

You can also apply by email or by calling the BSWAT Payment Scheme hotline on 1800 799 515.

To receive a payment, you must have registered before 30 April 2017.

Federal Court approves settlement of class action

Between 2004 and 2014, the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool (BSWAT) was used to assess the wages of many supported employees of Australian Disability Enterprises.

In 2012, the Federal Court determined that the BSWAT indirectly discriminated against two ADE employees with an intellectual disability.

In 2013, a man named Tyson Duval-Comrie started a class action to seek compensation for himself and other people who were paid using the BSWAT.

In February 2016, Tyson and the Australian Government decided to settle the class action out of court.

As part of their agreement, the Government changed the law so that people will get more money from the BSWAT Payment Scheme. Now, people will get about 70% of the money that was claimed in the class action. Before the law was changed, they would have received about 50%.

Once the law has been changed, Tyson and the Government agreed that the class action should end.

The Federal Court of Australia held a hearing on 12 December 2016 to decide if the proposed BSWAT settlement was fair.

On 16 December 2016, Justice North approved the settlement of the class action and ruled the terms set out in the Deed of Settlement are fair and in the interests of the applicant and group members as a whole, with the represented proceedings dismissed with no further requirements.

This decision means that the class action has now ended.

Group members have been encouraged to register for and apply to the BSWAT Payment Scheme to get a payment because the scheme is now the only way to get a payment.

Group members cannot take part in any other legal case about the BSWAT in future.

Medical practitioners may need to verify a person’s intellectual impairment

Verifying that an applicant has intellectual impairment is part of assessing a person’s eligibility for the scheme. 

The Department can verify medical information for most applicants.

However, some applicants will need to provide certification from a medical practitioner.

An information sheet for medical practitioners is available on this website. It will also be distributed to GPs through the AMA annual planner and Primary Health Networks.

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