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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 194..


Workers Compensation Amendment Bill 2006

Ms Gallagher , pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo-Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.54): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The ACT private sector workers compensation scheme provides compensation to injured workers for injuries arising out of, or in the course of, their employment. The purpose of the Workers Compensation Amendment Bill 2006 is to amend the Workers Compensation Act 1951 to ensure all family day care and in-home care carers in the ACT have the same entitlements to workers compensation under the act; to address an anomaly relating to pre-incapacity weekly earnings; to include rehabilitation treatment as part of the compensation an injured worker is entitled to and enable access to workers compensation for women up until the age of 65 years.

There are currently five Australian government approved family day care services and two Australian government approved in-home care services operating in the ACT. Four of the family day care services and one of the in-home care services employ carers under the Family Day Care (Australian Capital Territory) Award 1999. The carers who work in these services are employees and are covered by the act.

Family day care and in-home care carers who are not employed under the award are considered self-employed. Responsibility for obtaining workers compensation coverage for these carers has not been clear. To clarify the responsibility, the bill will introduce amendments that will allow the service operating these schemes to request that the carers be declared workers for the purposes of the act. The amendments will also enable the minister to make such a declaration on the minister's own initiative. The declaration of carers as workers will only apply for the purposes of this act. This amendment will ensure that all family day care and in-home care carers registered with Australian government approved services will have the same entitlements to workers compensation across the ACT.

The Workers Compensation Advisory Committee has advised the government that there are a number of discrete amendments that would improve the operation of the ACT workers compensation scheme. I would like the thank the Workers Compensation Advisory Committee for their continued commitment to working in partnership with the government to improve the operations of the workers compensation scheme in the ACT and improve outcomes for injured workers.

Currently the act defines pension age by reference to the Commonwealth Social Security Act 1991. Men qualify for the pension at 65 years of age. For women born before 1948 the pension age ranges between 60 and 64 years and six months. The effect of this is that


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