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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 5 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 1522 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (6.24), in reply: Mr Speaker, I want to thank members for their support for the legislation. It is in effect one of the budget Bills, and I am pleased that it has the support of members across the chamber. I want to make just a couple of comments. Mr Speaker, first of all Mr Quinlan made reference to the impact being quite low on individual insurance companies and it not being a heavy burden in that respect. I think that is true; but, if one measures this in terms of the impact on policyholders of insurance companies, I suspect that the impact is quite similar in overall terms to the impact of the insurance levy which is being applied to other policyholders, non-workers compensation policyholders. In fact, the principle is very similar, if not the same, in both pieces of legislation. In both pieces of legislation there is a levy imposed on insurance companies which results in a burden, if you like, being passed on to policyholders. There are, of course, many more policyholders in the case of the insurance levy.

Mr Quinlan: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. Are we debating this Bill or are we debating the Insurance Levy Bill?

MR HUMPHRIES: I am comparing two Bills which impose a burden on policyholders. I think it is valid to make a comparison between two budget Bills. Mr Speaker, I think it is a bit curious that there is support for this Bill but, I am told, there will not be support for the other Bill, which is effectively identical in its effect on other legislation.

Mr Quinlan: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Are we anticipating a debate or what?

MR SPEAKER: No, this is only a comparison, and we will not get into a debate on the Insurance Levy Bill.

MR HUMPHRIES: I understand Mr Quinlan's sensitivity, Mr Speaker, so I will not further embarrass him on that point. Mr Kaine asked me a question about how much would be raised from the workers compensation levy, or taxation measure - whatever you want to call it - and whether it will be applied to the costs of the system. I should point out the reference in the explanatory memorandum to the likely effect of the Bill - that is $300,000, as Mr Kaine pointed out - is not simply an estimate of the effect of the measure in terms of revenue; it is not simply a figure or a target that we have set as what we want to raise from the revenue; it is in fact set in the Bill as an amount which equals the cost of administration under the legislation. In effect, we collect $300,000 only if we have to spend $300,000 on administering the scheme under the legislation. If, for example, the scheme cost only $200,000 to administer, then we would collect only approximately $200,000 under the scheme.

Mr Speaker, I want to thank members for their support for the legislation.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

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