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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (23 May) . . Page.. 1673 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Again I say, for Mr Whitecross's benefit, that if bans affect this as they affect other things the answer is very simple. You do not actually need bans, Mr Whitecross, when you are engaged in industrial action - certainly not bans that affect students, certainly not bans that affect parents. Every other union has now come to the party with an arrangement with this Government. It seems that the bans are part of a national campaign. Mr Whitecross, to ensure that there are no further delays or no further problems, why do you not get onto the AEU and ask them to lift the bans?

Mr Whitecross: I raise a point of order. Mr Speaker, part of my supplementary question was: Do you agree that January 1997 is no longer a feasible date for the introduction of school-based management? Mr Speaker, you ruled that part of my question out on the basis that it was hypothetical. It was actually just a request for an expression of opinion. I would ask you to reconsider your ruling and direct the Minister to address that part of the question.

MR SPEAKER: The Minister, despite my ruling that part of the question was hypothetical, did in fact address that part and I took note of his comments. The last part of the question was qualified, and that is why I ruled that it was hypothetical. It all depends on how long the bans last. There is no point of order.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, I address a question to the Attorney-General. Attorney-General, I am sure that you are aware of an editorial in today's Sydney Morning Herald which talks about reforms to the New South Wales criminal injuries compensation scheme. The editorial says, amongst other things, that the existing scheme in New South Wales "is a textbook study in how a worthwhile concept can be crippled by inappropriate legislation, by the manipulation of lawyers" - my apologies, Minister - "and by bureaucratic incompetence". Minister, can you tell me whether similar problems exist with the ACT criminal injuries compensation scheme and, if so, what can be done about it?

MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Kaine for this question. It is a good question. As members know, the criminal injuries compensation system is now more or less a national system, although I think one or two jurisdictions are without it. Certainly, there are some similarities between our system and that in New South Wales. The comments made in the editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald certainly gave me cause to look at what was happening in the ACT. The ACT scheme was introduced in 1983, and in the seven years after its introduction we spent about half a million dollars a year in meeting payments for criminal injuries compensation; but since about 1990 the amount being paid under that scheme has been steadily growing and last financial year the cost to the Territory was well over $3m. That works out to be about $10 for every resident of the Territory. The figure in New South Wales is about $9. Clearly, issues taking place in New South Wales and the ACT are very similar.

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