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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3303 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

But it was a rate of extra funding for the hospital that simply wasn't sustainable. We provided, I think, a 12 per cent increase in funding to Calvary Public Hospital, budget-to-budget, and Calvary Hospital have made some adjustments internally. If Calvary Hospital have cut funding to the emergency department, that is a decision they have made. It is not a decision that I or the ACT department of health were involved in.

In terms of the specific funding increases, the moneys that were provided by way of supplementation to enhance throughput to Calvary Hospital, I am happy to take the numbers on notice and will happily provide them, hopefully, today.

Liability insurance-equestrian park

MR HUMPHRIES: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, at the Estimates Committee hearing of 17 July this year you said:

I do not think we've had anyone that's come to us that hasn't been able to get insurance.

That was in the context of rejecting proposals from the Liberal Party for improvement to the position of those facing difficulties with rising insurance premiums.

As you are now aware, the equestrian park at Hall has closed down, with the loss of five jobs. Forest Park Riding School is also facing closure. Between the two of them, 33 jobs are in jeopardy.

Would you concede that this is an omen that the entire horse-riding industry in the ACT faces the prospect of shutdown because insurance is simply not available? What does the government now propose to do to protect the hundreds of jobs of Canberrans tied up in this industry?

MR QUINLAN: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. Yes, it is a matter of great concern. First of all, the riding businesses that have come to us have been our first "failure", if you like, in trying to find insurance cover.

There is insurance cover available for some areas of the equine industry: those that are associated with the national association and those that have put in place risk management procedures. I think one of the players in the field has found insurance, but I would have to say we are concerned about the actual provider of the insurance and the fact that it is registered in the Cayman Islands.

There is now quite clearly a difficulty with the insurance of this specific area. It is an international problem; it is a problem that has now infested the United States. The practices of insurance companies applied in the United States are being applied in Australia.

Something like 42 or 43 states in the United States of America have had to put in specific legislation. For the class of equine activity that has considerable risk associated with it, there will be a requirement for the individual taking part to take out personal accident insurance.

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