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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 2026 ..

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Berry for his question. The question of workers compensation as it relates to sports men and women is not an easy one to answer. From time to time there have been letters and differing legal advice as to who the employer would be in terms of people playing sport, especially when we have the situation of amateur sportspeople versus professional sportspeople.

As to Mr Berry's question about ruling out changes, this Government is inclined to say - and we will always say this - that we will protect, as much as we can and to the best of our ability, the capacity of any working men and women, whether they be sporting people or not, to be protected from disease and injury in the workplace. That is the Government's policy on workers compensation. We will also make sure that we look into the technicalities of who the employer is in terms of sports men and women. I am having discussions with the Minister for Sport, and I dare say that at some stage the Attorney-General will have to be brought into the discussions to determine that.

This is important with the new Super League arrangements, where it is difficult to ascertain who the employer is - for example, whether it is an organisation that is listed overseas. Under those terms and conditions and those contracts, it is very difficult to ascertain, if a sports man or woman is injured or ill, whether they can claim in the ACT jurisdiction or whether they can claim in any jurisdiction at all. It is a complex matter, and this Government will make sure that it comes up with the right answer.

MR BERRY: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister give an undertaking that, where there is an ambiguity, any changes will be inclusive rather than exclusive?

MR DE DOMENICO: Mr Speaker, I do not understand what Mr Berry is talking about; but, then, that is not unusual, especially when Mr Berry is on his feet. I repeat to Mr Berry, for even his edification, that the matter of workers compensation for sporting men and women is a very complex one. I do not expect Mr Berry to understand that, because he cannot understand even simple matters. This is a very complex matter. It involves negotiations with the Attorney-General, the Minister for Sport and other parties to make sure that we, first of all, determine who the employer is, if there is an employer, for a start, and, if so, what jurisdiction would be responsible. For example, if the Canberra Raiders were registered, as they once were, in Queanbeyan and if the deemed employer was in Queanbeyan, they may have to fit into New South Wales workers compensation rules. If they happen to be injured in the ACT, they may be able to claim under both jurisdictions or one jurisdiction.

Mr Berry: So there is work going on behind closed doors and no consultation with the community.

MR DE DOMENICO: I will not take on that interjection, because it is a silly interjection, as they all are from Mr Berry. This Government will make sure that, whatever the outcome, it will be in line with the outcomes of other governments - State, Territory and Federal - to make sure that we have the same practice.

Mrs Carnell: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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