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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4661 ..


Debate resumed from 4 December 1996, on motion by Mr Berry:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR MOORE (10.44): Mr Speaker, last week when we debated this issue I moved the adjournment of the debate, on the ground that Mr De Domenico had indicated to me that he needed an actuarial report. I must at this point indicate an apology to Mr De Domenico's office, because I had a message from one of his officers asking whether I could phone him back last night to indicate what I was doing and the position I was at. I simply ran out of time. I apologise for that. I know that his office, when I ask the same thing, always comes back to me in one way or another. I was still trying to get back this morning, and thought I would, but was not able to.

In the meantime, Mr Speaker, an actuarial report from John Ford and Associates from 30 August 1996, which I presume the Minister is aware of, has come into my possession. It seems to me that a report from 30 August 1996 is a recent enough actuarial report for me to be able to make a decision. It was at the request of Mr Berry in the Administration and Procedure Committee that this matter came on again today. At that stage I had not indicated to him which way I would be voting, but I said that I was still interested in an actuarial report. He indicated that he still wanted it to come on. I feel that, if somebody wants it to come on, that is fine. It may well have been adjourned again, and still may be.

Mr Speaker, the report that I have indicates on page 4 the range of expenditures and the funds at the end of 1994-95, being $33.3m, and at the end of 1995-96, being $34.6m. When I take into account revenue and expenditure, I believe that the fund will be able to sustain the proposal that Mr Berry has put up. But I think there is something much more significant, Mr Speaker. When you look at an actuarial report it is very difficult for somebody like me to make decisions just from the figures. Let us look at points 61 and 62, the impact of a possible increase in benefits. The report reads:

61. The cost of the scheme in terms of contributions required if the fund were in balance can be thought of as about 1.2% of wages to provide the benefits and 0.5% of wages to meet expenses ... If these benefits were adopted prospectively the costs would increase to about 1.8% for the benefits and 0.5% for the expenses.

It then goes on - and this is the critical part for me:

62. With the current level of surplus naturally the impact of such an increase in accruing costs would not affect employers for a number of years.

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