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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3440 ..

MS TUCKER: You might be clear. I am not going for you. You did not talk about this bit.

MR SPEAKER: Order! If you want to have a talk, go outside, please.

MS TUCKER: Mr Smyth, I am assuming that the government is committed to these particular injuries being covered.

Mr Smyth: Yes.

MS TUCKER: Right. As I understand it, Mr Berry came up with the idea that an actuarial assessment be done before so that we have an idea of the costs. In response to that concern, Mr Smyth-we are trying to work cooperatively-came up with a proposal for an actuarial assessment after the fact so that we have more understanding. But no-one is saying that they think these should be pulled out, so it is just a question of when the information is collected. I do not understand why it is so significant to collect it before, if everyone is totally committed to this. Why can we not just collect the information? I am happy for Mr Berry-I am sure we will give him leave if that is necessary-to put the other argument. But I do not understand why we have to have it now if everyone is committed to these injuries staying there, which for me is the most important issue.

MR BERRY: I seek leave to clarify that.

Leave granted.

MR BERRY: The disallowable provisions, which go to those injuries which you referred to, Ms Tucker, default to inclusion, so if nobody moves to exclude them they are in. The actuarial assessment will assess their cost-they have not been assessed to this point-and members will make a decision about the inclusion of these injuries in the table of maims. There are still injuries in respect of which workers might pursue other legal recourse, say, at common law but they are not included in the table of maims.

Superficially, the government's move to include them in the table of maims is a very attractive proposition, but there has never been any assessment of the cost. What everybody wants to know is what the cost of these things will be. If it is reported back to the Assembly that the costs would be bearable, then I am sure nobody will move to exclude these injuries. If it is reported back to the Assembly that not only these costs but lots of other costs would be huge, then legislators here have a few things to worry about before 1 July.

When you come back into this place-those of you who are fortunate or unfortunate, as the case may be, to be re-elected-you will have a job in front of you: to assess the benefits for workers. A report in February will give you as much information as is available at the time. That is a sensible way forward. The starting point does not happen until July. It is not about the exclusion of these particular injuries. It is about finding out what the cost will be, no more than that.

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