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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 3722 ..

MR SPEAKER: Mr Humphries, I am sure the Chief Minister is coming to that. There was a rather long preamble to your question, which invites some comment about the issues at large on this subject.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I will come to the conclusion now. This is a major and extremely complex issue-an issue in relation to which the government is putting an enormous amount of energy and time. We want a good result. We want a result that protects the consumer. We want a result that ensures people are protected from negligent behaviour, and ensures that appropriate standards of care will continue to prevail.

There is a major danger in relation to some of the tort law reform on which we are set-that we may disenfranchise great swathes of the community which are now, to some extent, protected by the laws in relation to negligence from shoddy treatment, across the board, by providers of services who do not care about the standard of care they provide. The laws of negligence could be so cut down that they would no longer be held liable or responsible for their negligent behaviour. These are the dangers we need to guard against.

In relation to Ipp specifically, this government's position always has been that the second level of our major reforms in relation to tort law reform will be the implementation of those aspects of Ipp and Neave that we believe best represent the balance between the need to protect the interests of consumers and the need to ensure that premiums are brought down, and that the insurance industry is sustainable; that we do what we need to do to ensure that those community services which rely on available professional indemnity and public liability insurance can gain it.

Having said that, this is an area in which we will tread with caution. A great difficulty for the ACT is that, as a purchaser of insurance, the ACT is quite small. To some extent, we are battered and bashed by the response of the larger states. There are some areas where we have a real discomfiture, where we will simply be swamped by some of the responses of our neighbours. We are, however, working hard on it. Indeed, I believe that my colleague, the Treasurer, will be making a detailed statement on this matter today.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, if I understand the Chief Minister to be saying he will embrace some of the Ipp recommendations, will your government now pay the ACT's share of the costs of the Ipp panel, which you previously declined to do?

MR STANHOPE: Although I do not know the detail of it, I understand there has been some agreement to reach that point, by the federal Treasury and by treasurers, in relation to that. I do not know the details-I am sorry.

Public service superannuation

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, in the Canberra Times today, the Housing Industry Association and the Master Builders Association have published criticism of costly mistakes made by ACT governments over the years.

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