Many enquiries have been received about Councils’ coverage in relation to the ‘Work for the dole’ scheme; in particular whether scheme participants are covered, as well as damage to Third Parties caused by participants.
As participants aren’t employees (or volunteers), they’re not covered under the Scheme. However, Council owes them a Duty of Care similar to that of a labour hire worker.
In respect to being covered for damage caused by participants, Council would not be vicariously liable for their actions. Council’s exposure would be limited to its involvement in the assessment, planning and supervision of the actual project. This could obviously include any failure to undertake any of those activities.
Therefore, Councils should initially satisfy themselves that ‘Work for the dole’ projects undertaken on their premises are subject to a proper Risk Assessment. They should also satisfy themselves that organisations representing participants assess risks of proposed programs, properly induct participants and hold adequate cover. Council will still be liable for any failures made where it supervises, oversees or plans the work which may cause injury to third parties.