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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1009 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

understanding of the importance of this matter. (Extension of time granted.) This obviously is a problem, and the monitoring and regulatory functions have to be seen as very significant. I think I have covered most of the points that we need to make here.

I do support Mr Berry's sunset clause. As I said, I do not think it is a particularly good situation at the moment and we would like to see a real attempt to look at the causes of the situation that we have got to. I commend Mr Osborne for coming up with this motion because at least we are now able to do something to deal with the immediate problems. I hope that we see the government now actually take action. It might have two years. It might not be here in two years. Hopefully it won't be. The government of the day, whoever it is after October, will also have a responsibility to pick this up because of the sunset clause.

MR HUMPHRIES (Chief Minister, Minister for Community Affairs and Treasurer) (12.01): Mr Speaker, I will speak to the amendment. I just want to make a couple of comments. I said before that the amendment was quite important in limiting the effect of this for a couple of years. Mr Kaine, in his remarks, referred to the absurdity, for example, of regulating, and he gave as an example the price of milk.

It is instructive to go back and look at what has happened in respect of other forms of regulation. We did regulate the price of milk in the ACT until last year, but there are two differences about that. One is that it was regulated not by a political decision at a particular price but by a body at arms-length from the government negotiating with stakeholders to reach an acceptable price. The second thing worth noting is that when the regulation of milk ended the price of milk fell and it has remained lower ever since, which is, I think, an interesting observation on the danger of regulation of any kind.

As far as the regulation of petrol is concerned, which also was mentioned by Mr Kaine, I note that the opposition has indicated its favour for regulating the price of petrol, using a power which is actually available in legislation, so I suppose its support for this motion is consistent, but I suspect that the risks and dangers involved in that are even greater than they are in this particular field.

Mr Stanhope asks, "What is the government going to do about the problem of rising premiums for workers compensation?" I asked in return what the opposition was going to do about it. I think that is a fair question given the fact that there is an election in just over six months time and parties are expected to put their position on the table in respect of major problems faced in the territory. Mr Stanhope's response was: "Well, this motion is our response, or at least partly our response." I say first of all that this is not your motion, of course; it's Mr Osborne's motion. Secondly, this motion only covers a very tiny area of the workers compensation problem. It is a problem affecting a host of companies across the ACT. Are you proposing to do this with respect to other companies as well?

Mr Stanhope: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. This is a classic Gary, the throwing up-

MR SPEAKER: Which standing order are you referring to, please?

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