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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3335 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

I have to say that this process should not be accepted by a majority of members of the Assembly, and the government should not be trying to bully us into proceeding right now.

MR BERRY (11.08): Mr Speaker, I accept all of the reservations people have about proceeding. I said last night that I am not going to be in a position to have all of the amendments sorted by this morning. We are struggling but we are getting there.

I understand that members might find that their own processes are in a bit of disarray because of the paper that has been coming backwards and forwards. However, we are dealing with a comprehensive law and, as such, the process is an arduous one. Now that I have got my teeth into it, I am relaxed about proceeding-the blood pressure is up and you might as well keep going-but I accept that other people might not be of the same view.

Notwithstanding that, Mr Smyth tried to make the point that the Labor Party is trying to stop things from happening. No, the Labor Party is trying to make sure that we understand what is happening. That is the difference between us and the government.

Mr Smyth said, "Well, you can't tell what the effect on, say, soft tissue injuries is until you have given it a run." My amendment very clearly says that "the minister must commission a report from an actuary who has expertise in workers compensation insurance about the actuarial effect of the amendments made by that Act to this Act and, in particular, the actuarial effect of the inclusion of the disallowable items in schedule 1"-that is, the soft tissue matters.

Mr Speaker, is Mr Smyth saying to us that nobody out there knows what happens with soft tissue injuries, how long they last, and how that might impact on the provisions of this legislation? If he is saying that, then we are starting off in a vacuum. If he has not talked to people about this, we are starting off in a vacuum.

What I am saying to Mr Smyth and others in this Assembly is that we need an expert, somebody as described in the legislation, to look at the impact so that this Assembly can make an objective decision about where the legislation should be heading and how we should proceed with the rest of it. I, for one, will never stand in the way of a benefit to workers. But you have to look at the affordability of these issues so that you know what in fact is going to happen.

An election is to be held between now and when these decisions will have to be made. The actuarial report will come into this place and be considered by some of us-all of us will not be here-and some new members. The members of the new Assembly will need to understand exactly where they are taking workers compensation in the territory. That is why you need this actuarial report. It is important that we adopt my amendment to the commencement provision because it will lead us to an actuarial assessment of what the system costs.

People will say, "What information can we can get our hands on?" Yesterday some employer representatives I was talking to praised me for the information I gave them when I was a minister about the cost of workers comp and the premium costs on a two-

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