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committee will realise - Mr Moore and I have been talking about Comcare for a number of years now - if there is a better way of doing things, we ought to be approaching that better way. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a better way of doing this; but this expert consultant will show us that.
Is it not strange to think that the ACT administration is the only administration in the country that, for example, does not either self-insure or combine self-insurance and insuring in the private sector? Is it not strange that ours is the only jurisdiction in the country that does not allow its individual departments and instrumentalities to obtain the workers compensation coverage that they require at the best possible price? In saying all that, I stress that the review is about getting all options on the table so that the best possible system for workers compensation is put in place. I again stress that the Government has given, and will continue to give, a public commitment that the benefits package will not be different from those of the Commonwealth sector and not different from what is currently being enjoyed by people working in the ACT public service. We have also given a commitment that, whatever system is put in place, it should, and will, incorporate appeal mechanisms equivalent to those currently provided. Some members opposite suggest from time to time that we have a chainsaw in each hand and are about to rip benefits off the workers. Nothing is further from the truth. What we are saying is that we want the work force in the ACT to continue to have the same benefits that they enjoy today and, if we can acquire those benefits at a better price for the Territory, then we would be abrogating our responsibility if we did not do that. That is purely and simply what we are saying.
I am also disappointed, to say the least, that the invitation given to the Trades and Labour Council to participate in this entire process has now been rejected. If Mr Berry is going to be the chair of this committee, one hopes that he will use the influence that he should have with the Trades and Labour Council to get them back on board. Perhaps they are more inclined to trust Mr Berry than to trust a Liberal government. Mr Berry might use his ability to negotiate with the Trades and Labour Council in order to get them on board and say, “This is about working together and making sure that the people of the ACT do not have to pay an exorbitant price for their workers compensation insurance”. So, in that sort of spirit, Mr Speaker, the Government is prepared to support the establishment of the committee. I hope that the Assembly will support my amendment, which says that the committee should report by the first day of sitting in October.
MR BERRY (5.11): The Opposition will agree with the amendment proposed by Mr De Domenico. The date that was chosen was thought to be a convenient date. If this one is a more convenient date, all the better.
Amendment agreed to.