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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 9 March 2006) . . Page.. 530 ..

ACT guidelines for work experience and reviewed annually by the Department of Education and Training.

Amendments agreed to.

Remainder of bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Racing (Jockeys Accident Insurance) Amendment Bill 2006

Debate resumed from 7 March 2006, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (11.38): The purpose of the bill, as indicated when it was introduced by the Treasurer, is to amend the Racing Act 1999 to provide RacingNSW with a legal status to insure jockeys, apprentices and other approved riders in the ACT. Jockeys who ride in the ACT have been outside the provisions of the Workers Compensation Act since 2001-02. Since then they have been covered by GIO insurance, but that insurance ceased on 30 June 2005.

I understand that there was a delay of about three months, during which the plight of the racing industry resulted in some six local race meetings being cancelled or moved to Queanbeyan and Goulburn due to lack of insurance cover in the ACT. Obviously, the opposition and the industry were concerned about the time that that matter took. Generally, we have tried to take a bipartisan approach to this subject. There may be comments that the Treasurer will make in his remarks that will explain what seemed to be rather long delays.

I am under no illusions about how difficult it is to deal with the insurance industry, because ultimately there are really only three insurers in this country. I have great regard for Mr McDonald’s capacity to deal with insurance issues on behalf of the administration, which I have seen since my election to the Assembly, but it did seem to take an extraordinary amount of time and did beg certain questions as to why the matter was allowed to go on so long and lead to local disruption to the racing industry.

In any event, eventually a temporary private insurance arrangement for jockeys riding in the ACT was put in place to ensure the continuation of major horseracing events such as the Canberra Cup and Black Opal, but I am advised that this interim cover will expire on 31 March 2006. It is pleasing to note that RacingNSW is prepared to support the racing industry generally by extending its insurance cover to include the ACT. At the same time, of course, the inclusion of the ACT extends the insurance pool and may help RacingNSW to operate a little more efficiently. It is also pleasing to note that the minister expects the arrangements that will result from the amending bill will lead to the Canberra Racing Club saving more than $600,000 in insurance premium costs per year. That is a welcome measure and a terrific outcome after a fairly difficult period for the industry.

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