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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1002 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

construction industry? What does this government think or care about the future of the construction industry in the ACT? How important and how vital to this sector is the training of the next group of builders, construction workers, project managers and bricklayers?

Mr Humphries: I answered all those questions earlier in the debate but you were not here.

MR STANHOPE: I was listening.

Mr Humphries: You heard me answer those questions then.

MR STANHOPE: I was listening, minister, but you didn't answer. Will you secure the future of these people if CITEA and the MBA scheme collapse? What will you do for these 250 young Canberrans part way through their training? What will you do for them? Will you guarantee them a future? You have had an opportunity to respond to this looming crisis and you have not responded. You have done nothing. You have known that this day was coming. You know that this increase in workers compensation premiums is simply unsustainable by the MBA and by CITEA. They cannot go on like this. Something has to be done.

Mr Hird, in his prepared speech, or the speech that was prepared for him, referred to the draft exposure bill on workers compensation. To what extent does that bill resolve these issues? Mr Hird makes the point, the government makes the point, that the draft bill that has been tabled will resolve this issue. Let me tell you now that I have looked at the bill. It will not resolve this issue. It will not solve the problem. The draft exposure bill will not resolve this issue or these difficulties.

Recently I have been complimentary. I praised the process that the Chief Minister engaged in in relation to the commercial and retail tenancies legislation. There was a very significant process of negotiation. All the stakeholders involved in the development of that legislation were involved. After listening to Mr Hird in relation to the government's proposals for taking forward the tabled workers compensation bill, it comes to mind that perhaps we do need to look at the establishment of an expert working group on workers compensation because I can tell you now that the tabled bill, the exposure draft workers compensation bill, will not resolve the issues facing this community in relation to workers compensation. It is a bill which will satisfy nobody. It is a bill which attempts to deal at all edges with all of the issues facing all of the different sectors concerned about workers compensation and the impact on the town.

Mr Humphries: So how would you fix it, Jon?

MR STANHOPE: Well, I am just making a suggestion, Chief Minister, if you would only listen. I actually complimented you on a previous approach that your government had taken and suggested that you need to focus on that sort of approach in relation to workers compensation. It is a difficult, complex and-

Mr Humphries: We have been, actually. We have done the same thing.

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