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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3438 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

The Liberal government want to give workers access to the table of maims now, and we want to do the actuarial study after we know how the scheme has worked for a couple of years. Then, and only then, will you be able to do an objective analysis of whether or not the scheme is working.

What we have here is the potential to reduce the costs of the scheme. Rather than force people into litigation, we are saying they should have access to the table of maims. We want to give the workers a vote.

Mr Berry is saying that we should do a study now. We tried to do actuarial studies, and the actuaries told us that we would be wasting our money, simply because the data we had up to date was so soft and so that fuzzy that it was impossible to do a reasonable analysis of how this scheme would work. That is why we are collecting information in the database. That is why when the bill is passed and it comes into being we will continue to collect data, and at the end of a reasonable period we will assess that data and its impact.

But during that period we want workers not to go the litigation route. We want them to have access to the table of maims and to benefits they might be entitled to. The intent of the amendment is exactly what we want. The application certainly is not. I believe that we should oppose this amendment.

The actuarial study should be based on an analysis of the scheme one year after its operation. We are asking actuaries to do a study of a scheme that has not commenced, with data they do not have, to determine an outcome. We need to wait for a year to ensure that the data used to make the assessment is derived from the new database managed by WorkCover rather than from insurer data estimates and assumptions as to the possible performance of the scheme. For these reasons the government does not support this amendment.

MR OSBORNE (9.42): Mr Speaker, I was a little confused earlier today, but having listened to Mr Smyth I can understand why some people were confused. He clearly got it wrong. No-one is trying to stop workers accessing this scheme. It does not come into play until the middle of next year. Mr Berry is proposing that you go away and do some sort of costing and give us something on what you are proposing. It is not going to affect implementation of the legislation unless someone moves for disallowance. Clearly Mr Smyth is attempting to muddy the water here. Mr Berry is not attempting to stop anyone accessing the new scheme. Surely somebody could give us some figures on what it is going to cost.

I think it is quite a reasonable suggestion on the part of Mr Berry. When Mr Smyth stood up, I thought, "What on earth is he talking about?" No-one is trying to stop it. Mr Berry's date is 1 February, isn't it?

Mr Berry: That is for delivery of the report. The starting point to the legislation is July 2002.

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