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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3336..


MS DUNDAS (continuing):

As I have indicated previously regarding draft variation 200, I am concerned that there are inadequate linkages between the garden city plan and other plans being developed by the government. There is no clear linkage between the garden city plan and the work of the affordable housing task force, or between this plan and ACT Housing, in relation to dwellings suitable for people with disabilities, an important topic today. I certainly hope that the government has taken these concerns on board.

However, I believe that the garden city plan can be amended to address valid community concerns, and I commend the government for making a first attempt to find a way of developing Canberra that is socially and environmentally sustainable. I hope that we can come together to build a vision for our city that is good enough and acceptable enough to withstand subsequent elections.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The discussion has concluded.

Civil Law (Wrongs) Bill 2002

Debate resumed.

(Quorum formed)

MR SMYTH (4.17): The first thing I would like to say is that it is pleasing that the government has followed the lead of the opposition in attempting to address the public liability crisis legislatively. I think that it is a sign of the strength of policy making in this place that both the Liberal Party and the Labor Party have now come up with reform packages. However, those packages are very different. The Liberal package approaches the problem from a new angle. The wrongs bill looks very much to me like the lawyers' solution. However, the expressions of concern I have received from the Bar Association, the Law Society and the Plaintiff Lawyers Association tell me that even this lowly ambition has failed.

While the Liberal Party will be supporting most of this bill, I do have a number of concerns that relate specifically to the areas that impact on public liability. There is nothing in this bill that addresses the need for a statute of limitations. There is nothing in this bill that forces insurers to assess, accept or reject claims in a timely fashion. There is nothing in this bill that imposes controls on the insurers. There is nothing in this bill that will reduce premiums. There is nothing in this bill that addresses the concept of injury management and rehabilitation. There is nothing in this bill that will help adventure activity industries survive. There is nothing in this bill that looks to the welfare of the injured parties.

There is nothing in this bill that will make the slightest bit of difference to the problem. It is only due to the suggestion from the Chief Minister that it will be fixed later that we are supporting this bill at all, although it is perilous indeed to have faith in Labor promises. Most importantly, I note that there is nothing in this bill that will address the crisis in medical indemnity insurance. Indeed, the AMA have joined the corner marked "very unhappy campers" in which the lawyers sit. They are unhappy because this bill does not address medical indemnity and they are ropable because they have not been consulted. That is right, Mr Deputy Speaker, the AMA were not consulted. Instead, they were


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