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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1688..


WORKERS' COMPENSATION (AMENDMENT) BILL (NO. 2) 1996

Debate resumed from 21 November 1996, on motion by Mr De Domenico:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR BERRY (5.28): Mr Speaker, the Opposition will be supporting this legislation. Earlier on we did have some reservations about it, principally because of our concern that the consultation process had not been properly completed. I now understand that the matter has been to the Workers Compensation Monitoring Committee and has received the tick. I would make the observation that one other concern about this is the possibility of jurisdiction shopping to find the cheapest and least beneficial workers compensation provisions in relation to employees. That remains an issue of concern which Labor will be watching closely, and I would urge the Government to do so as well, because we would not want to see an employer, for example, move to New South Wales merely to obtain cheaper and less beneficial conditions in respect of workers compensation. I repeat that the Opposition will be supporting this legislation, and I urge the Government to watch its development, after it is implemented, with care.

MR KAINE (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Industrial Relations) (5.30): Mr Speaker, this legislation has been on the table for quite some time. Mr Berry did express some concerns, and I note that at least some of those concerns have now been alleviated. I would have to say that, to some degree, I share his concern about jurisdictional shopping. I would hope that the provisions of the Bill, when it is enacted, would prevent that, because it deals with workers who are essentially ACT workers. If a person is essentially an ACT worker, then the employer has to take out his workers compensation insurance in the ACT. The only reason why they might seek to do otherwise is if the workers compensation premiums in the ACT become grossly inflated relative to those paid in the States or the Northern Territory. I would be concerned if that, in fact, became the case. We would want to be talking with the insurers to make sure that that did not occur; that we did not get so far out of balance with the insurers elsewhere that there would be any need to do that or any advantage in doing that. I appreciate Mr Berry's support for the Bill, and I assure him that we will be watching for the sort of ill effect that he has expressed concerns about.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.


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