Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 2999 ..
MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):
In the meantime, professional sports men and women need not be left uninsured by the changes. They have access to income protection schemes and personal accident coverage. In this regard, they are not very different to other self-employed contractors in the private sector. I am also told, by my colleague Mr Stefaniak, that most of the professional sporting bodies that have contacted us intend to go down that path in terms of making sure that, when they have players on contract, part of that contract has a clause in it for special coverage under personal accident insurance. Some clubs in the States and Territories other than New South Wales organise personal accident cover for their players by the inclusion of clauses in the contracts. It could happen in the ACT, and we encourage that to happen; but it is a matter of negotiation between the clubs and the players.
Can I also say that the amending legislation covers professional sportspersons on the field, in training sessions and in travel to and from those activities. It does not extend to other activities, such as promotional activities, or other employment undertaken by the player for the sporting organisation. That player is covered only when he is on the field. Employers will still need to take out workers compensation insurance to cover employees for those other activities.
We are confident that there are alternative forms of coverage available for these people and that they are not being placed at any disadvantage compared with their interstate colleagues. The changes will not affect boxers, jockeys and others who are already deemed to be workers by specific provisions in the Workers' Compensation Act 1951. The amendment will clarify some confusion in our ACT sporting industry regarding the requirement to cover professional players for workers compensation. The changes are necessary and will help establish a level playing field for our sporting organisations when competing against States which have similar exemptions.
I would once again like to thank the Opposition, Mr Berry in particular. I give Mr Berry an undertaking that if the Government finds that there are concerns being expressed by the sporting community we will be back. One thing that I have learnt about sport is that it tends to unify even people in this place. I am sure that that bipartisan support is appreciated. I thank the Opposition for not opposing the Bill.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.
Bill agreed to.