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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1315 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

contractors, because nobody else will insure them. There is simply not an insurer in Australia prepared to insure midwives.

Ms Tucker: Isn't that the same as the visiting medical officers?

MR STANHOPE: Well, it's not the same with visiting medical officers, to the extent that they provide their services through their public practice. I take the point you made. I am sorry, I misunderstood the point you make. The great difference, of course, with VMOs is that there are insurers who continue to insure doctors and medical specialists. They are issues that we are working on.

I have no intention, through the debate that has existed for some months now in relation to medical indemnity insurance, of allowing for those responsibilities of medical practitioners to simply be shifted to the public purse. I think that is an untenable position as a long-term solution.

Much of the rhetoric in relation to issues around medical indemnity insurance has involved a quite blatant determination to see the public pick up what has traditionally or always been regarded as a personal responsibility of medical practitioners or professionals, however described; namely, all of a sudden, as a result of actions of the insurance industry, we-the community, the taxpayer-pick up responsibility for meeting the insurance needs of the profession.

The significant difference is that, for midwives-and it is sad and unfair-there is nobody prepared to insure them.

Land release

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the minister for housing. Mr Wood, on 12 February you commissioned a task force headed by Christine Purdon to look at the issue of housing affordability in the ACT. There is a universal view in the building industry that there are not enough blocks on the market, especially within the price range of first home buyers. Mr Bob Winnel, the chief executive of the Village Building Co., recently wrote in the Canberra Times:

A government body supervises Gungahlin land releases, yet there are only 15 unsold blocks on the market at an average of $180,000.

Mr Cornwell: How many?

MR STEFANIAK: Fifteen. Mr Winnel went on:

The whole ACT has just 157 unsold blocks. There is no affordable block outside Dunlop.

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