Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (17 October) . . Page.. 1689 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

Exactly the same system applies in blue-collar areas at that level to make sure that the appropriate practices are in place. To emphasise that, Mr Speaker, the recommendation to establish a statutory authority has been dealt with already by my colleagues. I believe that this unanimous report will assist in ensuring a better quality of life and better protection for our workers. As a result of that, we will also see lower Comcare payments - payments that are not more than double what the Commonwealth pays. That is the challenge. I know that Mr De Domenico is taking it seriously, and I hope that this unanimous report will be helpful in that way.

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (10.58): Mr Speaker, I welcome the committee's report, and I also welcome the statements made, in particular, by the last two speakers who, quite rightly, spoke along the lines that this is, or should be, a bipartisan issue that should not be politicised, as some people tend to do from time to time. I welcome, in particular, Mr Moore's remark that this is an issue that is not going to go away.

Quite obviously, anybody who knew anything about workers compensation realised that the most crucial thing to look at was the way we case managed our various cases in the public service. Anyone who knew anything about workers compensation would not have taken five years to work that one out. However, the Government is committed to making sure that workers in the ACT public service get the most appropriate protection, and, should they become injured or sick, that there are rehabilitation programs in place to make sure that they get back to work as quickly as possible. That is what case management is all about. Anyone who knows anything about workers compensation would look, first of all, at case management. There is no use in case managing from a centralised approach. Mr Moore was quite right when he said, "What we need to do is to go right down to that agency level to give every middle management area the opportunity of doing the right thing by the workers in that particular agency". That would come out time and time again.

Mr Berry: Do you endorse the recommendations? When will we be told?

MR DE DOMENICO: You had your go. Now you listen to me. For Mr Berry to stand up and say that people should do nothing about it until this committee reported is, to me, nonsense. Mr Berry, if you see a problem that stands out like the proverbial, you do something about it. In line with that, I am delighted that the committee has come up with this recommendation. We do tend to talk and we did listen to what committee members and other people were saying from time to time. We took a great interest in the work of the committee. I also endorse the commendation of the work done by Mr Symington at a time when he had other things to do.

Comcare have agreed, after consultation, to do something that they did not agree to do in other years, and that is to loan one of their top case management people to us for 12 months - I am glad that the committee has mentioned a period of at least 12 months - in order that we can do something about the 420 people out there on Comcare benefits, most of whom want to be rehabilitated back into the work force. We will actually do something about rehabilitating them, thus reducing the cost. Primarily, we have to look after the worker. At the same time, if we can provide an adequate and best practice

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .