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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3775 ..

MR SPEAKER: Ministers, I would remind you of new standing order 118A which states that, if a minister takes a question on notice, that answer or explanation must be provided prior to the adjournment of the Assembly today.


MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, there are a few questions that I have taken on notice on which I can give additional information. Mr Osborne asked about dumping at ACT landfills. It is legal for general commercial waste to be accepted at landfills operating in the ACT because there is no legislation that prohibits transport of this material across state and territory borders. Landfills of the ACT accept commercial waste from the local region. For example, there is no landfill in Queanbeyan. Businesses in that city utilise our landfills at applicable commercial rates. This cooperation also applies to recycling, whereby the Queanbeyan City Council and other south-east region councils can take advantage of the recycling opportunities in the ACT. However, in practice, the quantity received from sources beyond Queanbeyan is low.

The ACT continues to monitor the situation and the amount coming in from over the border. I am happy to have the matter raised through the regional leaders forum with a view to maintaining cross-border stability in achieving the no-waste goal. Waste coming into ACT landfills is charged according to environmental harm, not location or source, and for general commercial waste this is $33 per ton, including GST. This fee is the same for the ACT and New South Wales regional businesses.

Workers compensation premiums

MR SMYTH: On 21 August Mr Osborne asked a question about workers compensation premiums in which he said that several months ago he had moved a motion on workers compensation premiums and the motion had been passed. He went on to say:

I have been informed recently that the effect of this motion has not yet been implemented and notified in the Gazette. Could you clarify this for me? If the change has not yet been implemented, could you give a reason as to why not.

Mr Speaker, though seemingly a straightforward matter, in practice implementation of this motion has proven to be challenging. The motion called on the government to set a maximum rate of 15 per cent as the workers compensation premium payable by group training companies, and, furthermore, that the operation of any maximum rate so determined be limited to a period of two years. Importantly, the debate on the motion centred on group training companies that employ apprentices in the construction industry, and especially one firm called CITEA.

At the time of the Assembly's consideration of the motion it was conjectured that both CITEA and another construction industry apprenticeship scheme would face workers compensation premiums far in excess of 15 per cent of wages and salaries. It is the government's understanding that these companies ultimately were able to negotiate policies for 2001-2 that were either at a premium rate less than 15 per cent or which have performance based provisions that may result in a final premium lower than this level.

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