Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 3 Hansard (31 March) . . Page.. 1176..
The government is suggesting, "Here are some reforms. It is our way. This is how it will work."Yet these reforms, when they started in New South Wales about a decade ago, yes, in the first year did lead to some premium reductions but then the premiums came straight back up. So if you want lasting reform and if you want genuine reform that leads to lower premiums but also better outcomes for the injured party as well as competition in the market, it would appear the government's approach, if we follow it now, may well have already failed in other jurisdictions. Again, it is very important to send this to the committee so that we get it right.
It is pleasing to hear the Treasurer admit there are legitimate concerns. It is pleasing that the Treasurer admits that we have not got the data that we need to make the decision here. I have asked the Treasurer or officials in a number of briefings for certain information that I understand they have, and I am yet to get any data back from the government on this.
The unfortunate thing is that the Treasurer said, "We would like you to have this."I am not just talking about the NRMA report, the Cumpston Sargeant report. There are the questions I have asked that I have not received any answers to. And so the unfortunate thing is that you cannot have any faith in this Treasurer and her process, because they say they will get you information and we never get that information.
As to the actual dates, if we look at December 2011 as a reporting date for the committee, the Treasurer has just said, "We will start on 1 October."Good. "The government will have that report in November."It has then got to go through the government process of taking it to cabinet and then releasing it. "So sometime in November the Assembly and, therefore, the committee can have the report,"but then the Treasurer expects that two or three weeks later the committee will report on what she says is a very important issue. That is just ridiculous and shows the lack of regard that the Treasurer has for the committee process and indeed for the public accounts committee.
As to the amendment proposed by Ms Hunter, I would have thought the public accounts committee would report at about that time. Indeed if we get the information early and we can action it quickly, then of course we can report earlier. So "by the first sitting week in March"means that it can become available.
But that will depend on the Treasurer. And that will depend on the information that the Treasurer provides and the timeliness of it. She is the one who has chosen the time frame for her legislation without consulting the act. The act is quite clear, and I am surprised at the advice the Treasurer got did not tell her that this review was required. Why would you amend an act that has only just been in operation so that you have got a different act which will be encountered on 1 October, when a statutory review has been put in place by the Assembly? The logic of the Treasurer and her leadership on this are sadly lacking.
My personal belief is that the motion, as it stands, is probably the best way to go about it, "as soon as practicable in 2012". I accept that March 2012 might be, if we have to fix a date, is certainly a date that I hope PAC can work to. December 2011 is just