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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4876 ..


Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Public Sector Workers Compensation Fund Bill 2018

Debate resumed from 25 October 2018, on motion by Ms Stephen-Smith:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MISS C BURCH (Kurrajong) (4.38): The main purpose of this bill is to establish the financial and governance structures necessary to support the ACT becoming a self-insurer for workers compensation claims arising from the ACT public service. At present, the territory pays the commonwealth to insure our public sector workers through the Comcare scheme. This creates a certain amount of administrative overhead, as injury management and return to work must be managed between the ACT and commonwealth governments. This bill proposes to reduce that overhead by bringing the responsibility for insuring public sector workers compensation claims within the territory.

The Canberra Liberals strongly support the ACT public service. We want to ensure that ACT public servants who are injured in the course of their work are provided with the support they need. We support improved health and return to work outcomes for injured workers, and better integration of public sector workers compensation with the territory's health services. We want to ensure that injured workers receive the best treatment possible and are supported in their return to work.

We also support this move towards greater financial and administrative autonomy for the ACT, and the streamlining of processes to achieve greater efficiency in government administration. To the extent that this bill improves health and return to work outcomes and achieves greater efficiency in managing public sector workers compensation claims, we support this bill.

The bill proposes to give the territory more control in managing public sector workers compensation claims and reduce the administrative overhead involved in managing these claims across jurisdictions. While we understand that there are efficiencies in bringing all past and present public sector workers compensation claims under the new scheme, we do have some concerns about unfunded liabilities. This bill would make the territory take over liability for all existing claims by past and present ACT public sector workers which are currently obligations of the commonwealth. The ACT has already paid into Comcare to cover these liabilities. So the territory would be relinquishing the benefit of coverage that it has already paid for.

As a licensed self-insurer, the territory would be required to have appropriate prudential and financial governance arrangements in place to demonstrate that it can meet current and future compensation liabilities. Given concerns regarding the


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