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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 1 July 2010) . . Page.. 3226 ..

Treasury, for which the Treasurer said she was grateful. I was, therefore, surprised that a capital injection of $10 million has also been proposed for 2010-11, particularly given the significant increase in the cash holdings of the authority this financial year. The cash balance is already forecast to go from $211 million to $252 million.

This is a decision the government has taken, and we do have to question why this provision for further capital injection was made for this financial year. Responses in the estimates hearings were not entirely clear about the need for this injection. In fact, as I pursued the matter—people can check it out on page 282 of the Hansard—I was told there may not be a need for the injection. I also observe that the Treasurer said that making provision for a capital injection during 2010-11 was prudent. You have to question whether it is so prudent when the financial parameters of the authority appear to be very strong.

Indeed, it is the performance of the authority itself that has been so prudent over recent years. The authority has been very successful in negotiating with insurance companies and with reinsurers to achieve good outcomes for premiums that are paid by the ACT government’s departments and agencies. In large part, this is because of the work that the authority has done in improving the management of risk across the ACT government, especially in the reporting by departments and agencies of incidents and, through the authority, improving the base of information about risk issues across ACT government operations.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (12.18 am): The appropriation bill provides for $10 million to be appropriated to the ACT Insurance Authority. Last year the same amount was appropriated and $5 million of the $10 million has now been returned. During the estimates hearings, the authority indicated that it may well be that the money, or some part of it, appropriated this year is, in fact, again not needed this year. The Greens accept that, whilst this may be the case—we hope that it is the case—it is prudent to appropriate this amount of money given the nature of the authority and the need to have funds available for insurance provision.

I would like to address a couple of matters relating to the activities of the Insurance Authority—firstly, their role in assisting agencies to address and reduce their particular risks, one of the most important outputs of the agency. The authority does a very good job in identifying and addressing the particular risks across agencies, and I congratulate it for its positive initiatives. One particular issue I would like to raise is the provision of insurance for midwives to provide home birth services. I note that progress has been made so that insurance is now available for unplanned home births, subject to a range of conditions.

The issue that remains to be resolved is that of planned home births. Mothers and families should have the choice to have their babies at home, and it is most unfortunate that this is no longer the case. I do acknowledge that the authority is actively working on the issue and that it is a vexed issue that involves third parties and some particularly complicated arrangements. It must be said that, given we are appropriating this amount of money and the apparent likelihood is that it will not be needed, there is a case for the ACT to self-fund this particular risk.

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