Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3727 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
and 17. The third reason for not supporting them is that they involve matters which are outside the scope of the criminal injuries scheme, particularly recommendations 19 and 21.
The committee has not indicated a view on the level of expenditure it would regard as sustainable. It is clear from the advice of my officers that the agreement by the Government with all of the committee's recommendations would add in excess of $7m to the annual cost of the criminal injuries compensation scheme in the Australian Capital Territory. Let me repeat that, Mr Speaker. The Government has brought forward a package of reforms with the stated objective of reducing the cost of the criminal injuries compensation scheme, but the advice from my department is that implementing the recommendations of this committee on those reforms not only would not achieve any of the savings, but also would actually add a total of $7m to the annual cost of the scheme. That does not include the proposal not to impose the scheme retrospectively from the date of announcement. That would be an additional cost, Mr Speaker.
The Government's position is that, having regard to the rate of crime in the ACT and its population size, an amount of between $3m and $4.5m per year would be sustainable and reasonable. A figure in this range would still represent a proportionately higher level of expenditure on victims of crime than all other Australian States and Territories except New South Wales, and even that is likely to change.
In light of this analysis by my department, I am today presenting the Government's response, but I hope that members will give some thought in the very near future to the realistic outcomes sustainable by taxpayers in the ACT. I hope that members will engage in discussion with the Government in the near future about what form the final package should take and be conscious of the fact that the cost of this scheme is spiralling heavily each year. Mr Speaker, I commend the Government's response to the Assembly.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (3.45): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present an exposure draft of the public passenger transport legislation, which includes a draft explanatory memorandum and a discussion paper, and I move:
That the Assembly takes note of the papers.
Mr Speaker, current bus transport regulation is confusing, burdensome and inefficient. Private operators conduct business under different rules to public operators and there is an excess of provisions contained within the regulatory framework which are not necessary. The proposed Public Passenger Transport Bill will provide for a streamlined regulatory framework for the provision of public passenger bus services in the ACT in