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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1846 ..

MR SMYTH: I have a supplementary question. Chief Minister, have you heard the voice of the community? Is your commitment to reinvigorating Labor's connection with the Canberra community a hollow promise?

MR STANHOPE: We went to the last election with a raft of promises in relation to unmet need for people with a disability. We know the level of unmet need in relation to disability services. You have just got to read the Gallop report. You have just got to talk to people in the sector. You have just got to go out into the community and talk about the level of unmet need in relation to disability services. We went to the last election with major commitments in relation to people with a disability and we will move to address significantly those issues.

We recognised the appalling paucity of respite care for people in the ACT. We recognised that and we went to the election promising at least $1 million of extra resourcing for respite services in the ACT. Do not tell me that you do not know that there is such a paucity of respite care for people, particularly people with disabilities and people with mental illness. We made significant promises in relation to respite care, and we will meet those promises. Similarly in relation to mental health, an issue that you dared to raise today. I do not know how you could bring yourself blushingly to do it, having regard to your mismanagement and your total neglect of these sectors in seven years of doing nothing. We promised at least $1 million in relation to that, and we will deliver.

Public liability insurance

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Treasurer. Last Thursday, the Treasurer represented the territory at the second meeting of the insurance summit. Could the Treasurer please inform members of the progress made at that meeting?

MR QUINLAN: I appreciate the opportunity to inform the house. The first piece of bad news at this seminar was that the consultants engaged to provide information had identified the ACT as being the most expensive jurisdiction in Australia in relation to public liability claims. I do not think that this information was hitherto known, but it became a matter of public record last week. The ACT is amongst the ruck in terms of insurance company profitability or lack of profitability in the public liability area and the agile mathematicians amongst us will have immediately concluded that ACT premiums must therefore be very high already, so the large hikes we hear of organisations within the ACT receiving in their premiums are on top of what are apparently considerably higher premiums than apply elsewhere.

In the overall context, it would seem that governments have been in the situation where they have been-they may have had no choice-dancing to a tune set somewhat by the insurance companies. They, particularly the international reinsurance market, have collectively refused insurance in some cases and offered high premiums in most others. In relation to that, the meeting did elicit from the Commonwealth an agreement that the ACCC will update its insurance industry marketing pricing review and the Commonwealth will provide the ACCC with a standing brief to continue to update this report on a six-monthly basis over the course of the next couple of years.

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