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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 10 Hansard (20 September) . . Page.. 4054..


MRS DUNNE: Minister, do you expect the community to believe that this was entirely a coincidence or are we dealing with this matter publicly because I stumbled across this breach?

MS BURCH: They are obsessed with "it's my little bag and I'll run home and play with it". I have been seeking assurances from the department and seeking information on questions for a number of weeks. I met with the provider on the Friday and it was after that that I continued to have questions in my mind. There was no further action for me but to have an independent review by the Public Advocate.

This is not about Mrs Dunne; this is not about her. This is about the safety and security of the children in care. Can I say that I want to thank those care and protection workers that work in such a challenging and harsh environment, where they get very little thanks—and I certainly have not heard any thanks from those opposite regarding those workers that do care and protection.

Can I say that this is not in response to Mrs Dunne. The only thing that I have sought to do in response to Mrs Dunne's letters is to apologise to the provider. I am happy to apologise to the provider that came to Mrs Dunne in good faith. She has disclosed their identity far and wide on the world wide web.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, minister; I feel we are off the topic.

Mitchell—chemical fire

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Chief Minister and concerns the financial aspects of the Mitchell fire. Chief Minister, what progress has been made in determining whether compensation should be paid to the businesses in Mitchell which have been adversely financially affected by the fire?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Le Couteur for the question. This is a matter currently before government. We had not, and have not to my knowledge, had any formal request from a business for compensation at this point in time. At this morning's meeting we had about 60 businesses present. Between the Treasurer and me, it was raised by a couple of individuals; I have to say it was not the major issue discussed.

I think the next steps are for people to understand their own business insurance arrangements, to understand the insurance arrangements that exist with ESI. The difference I explained to the businesses is whether government can just intervene at this point when we are not dealing with a natural disaster. We are dealing with an industrial accident. There are business insurance obligations there. So what I would say is that we are having a look at this. We have provided an avenue for business to come forward to us if they are experiencing some financial hardship that is not covered through normal insurance arrangements. I think the position that the Treasurer and I got to was that we will see what that looks like. At this point in time we have not finalised our thinking on it other than to say that we are acting cautiously. We do not want governments to start intervening in areas that would, I think, send a


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