Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 300..
In closing, this bill is a good example of how the human rights of a person affected by changes in the law can be balanced against the right of the community to protect children from sexual assault and violence. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne) adjourned to the next sitting.
Workers Compensation (Terrorism) Amendment Bill 2012
Dr Bourke, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
DR BOURKE (Ginninderra—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Corrections) (11.05): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
After the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks most insurance companies withdrew products offering coverage for an act of terrorism. Any products covering acts of terrorism that have been placed back on the market have been prohibitively expensive. As a result it is either not possible or is an unreasonable burden for employers to gain workers compensation coverage for injuries arising out of an act of terrorism.
However, the threat of terrorism and the risk of injury that it poses to ACT workers must be acknowledged and managed by the territory.
In recognition of these issues chapter 15 of the Workers Compensation Act 1951, the WC Act, was introduced, giving the government power to establish a temporary reinsurance fund to ensure the efficient and effective operation of the scheme in the event of an act of terrorism occurring in the ACT.
The initial amendment contained a sunset clause of 1 October 2004, but further amendments have extended these protections to give the government power to establish a temporary reinsurance fund in relation to acts of terrorism that occurred before 1 April 2012.
The Workers Compensation (Terrorism) Amendment Bill 2012 proposes amendments to remove any time-based limitation on the operation of chapter 15, providing the government with an ongoing mechanism to establish a temporary reinsurance fund following an act or acts of terrorism which occur now and into the future. The power to establish the fund will continue in perpetuity.
Importantly, any reinsurance fund established under chapter 15 would be of a temporary nature. The amendments proposed by the amendment bill do not require that any fund established under chapter 15 be maintained in perpetuity but rather for such time as required to respond to and resolve any related compensation claims.