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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (19 February) . . Page.. 351 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

The ACT government intends to involve itself heavily in that conference and to task the Commonwealth to some extent with what they see as a solution-what might be done at the Commonwealth level. The Commonwealth has a greater command over funds than do any of the states. This is likely to be a topic at the head of the list for the treasurers meeting, which is coming up on 21 and 22 March.

Some of the propositions put forward for remedying this situation do not have great appeal for this government. They place limits on court pay-outs or they are for fixed price settlements that are less than necessary to compensate people for their actual loss. It appears we may have double standards in relation to workers compensation, where a worker who suffers an injury ends up receiving far less payment than someone who suffers the exact same injury, through no fault of their own, in a motor vehicle accident-simply because it is an expedient solution. There is a lot more work to be done, and this government will take the issue to the treasurers conference.

As we see the last state or territory Liberal government fade away below the horizon in South Australia, I look forward to an interesting dynamic at the treasurers conference, where there will be a tory Liberal Treasurer and Labor treasurers from all the states and territories. We might actually be able to check the commitment of this federal conservative government to federalism.

Ministerial responses to constituents' correspondence

MRS CROSS: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Mr Stanhope, we on this side have already started to get complaints from constituents that responses to correspondence are taking an inordinate amount of time. I seem to recall that this was also a major point of dissatisfaction last time the Labor Party was in government. Chief Minister, have you issued guidelines to your cabinet colleagues, with time limits on answering correspondence? If you have, will you table them today?

MR STANHOPE: I think we have been in government for three months, Mr Speaker, so none of the responses have taken longer than three months. I am so pleased that the opposition have really got their hand on the tiller. They have really taken the interests of the people of Canberra to heart. They are really grappling with the big issues here today.

I cannot remember, Mrs Cross-I am sorry-exactly what your shadow portfolio responsibilities are. I assume you have some. I guess the fact that you have not been able to make any impact in relation to them has reduced you to this, the first question of the year 2002. What are your portfolio responsibilities, by the way? None of us knows, because we have not seen anything from you. But I am pleased to see that you are grappling with the really big issues, the issues that go to the heart of government in the ACT.

Mr Stefaniak: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker, under standing order 118 (a). Get him to stick to the topic and also be concise.

MR SPEAKER: That was pretty concise.

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