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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2141 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

I will tell you why we have to do that, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker. It is because the cost of workers compensation insurance to the ACT Government through Comcare is about 5.2 per cent of wages and salaries. For the Commonwealth Public Service it is 1.7 per cent. Why is that so? The Tillinghast report suggests that it is because everything is too centralised. No-one has the incentive or the responsibility to look after their own workplace at the managerial level. Knowing that some centralised bureaucratic monster is going to pay out anyway, no-one has the incentive to make sure that that workplace is safe. Once again, that is not the gospel according to the Liberals, De Domenico or Carnell; that is what best practice around the world is telling us. People can shut their eyes and not look at that or not read things like that. I know that when you are as ideologically sound as some people opposite are you tend to forget what happens in reality and look at what is said in the manifesto.

If people are telling us to take everything on a centralised basis, we are not going to do that. We are not going to do that, because we do not believe that it is best practice. We are not going to do it, because people opposite have tried that for four or five years and it did not work. The classic example - I repeat it again - is that Comcare premiums for the ACT public service are roughly 5.7 per cent of wages. For the Commonwealth Public Service, with the same insurance company, and the same risk, one would tend to think, from time to time, they are 1.7 per cent. The Health Department is a classic example. In ACT Health 9 per cent of wages and salaries goes to Comcare premiums. The next highest in Australia is South Australia, where it is 3.5 per cent. Obviously, what previous governments have done with a centralised approach, Ms Tucker, has not worked. Therefore, the bottom line is that we have to try something different.

What do we do? We look at what other governments, including Labor governments, have done, and it seems to be working. We take another leaf out of the book of the Transport Workers Union, ACT branch, who had no problems in signing an enterprise agreement outside the central coordinating group. The benefits went first to the work force. There were no sackings. The community also benefited, over three months, to the tune of half a million dollars. The bottom line is that everybody wins if the commonsense approach is followed. Ms Tucker does not want us to take the commonsense approach. She wants us to take some ideological approach that was given to her, obviously, by someone else, because nowhere in the Greens' policy do I see anything about centralised approaches. Ms Tucker obviously has been listening to someone, because she is convinced, without listening to the Government side of things, that this is what she wants the Government to stop doing, all of a sudden, even though she has not heard our point of view, because she reckons that we are wrong. Ms Tucker, history tells me that in this case we are not wrong, and governments around Australia tell me that we are not wrong. I do not think we are either.

MR BERRY (4.58): This is a matter of ideology and politics, I suppose; but the Government opposite has to recognise that, in its minority format, there will be political moves to change the direction that it has taken. The Government has a "them and us" approach to industrial relations. It is about weakening the labour movement in all its forms. It is about lowering wages. It is about reducing the power of

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