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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4104 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I am not especially interested in what other jurisdictions are doing, I am interested in what the Canberra community wants. The Canberra community wants to see legislation which ensures that employers who act in a reckless way which contributes to or results in the death of an employee are held accountable for it. I cannot believe that those opposite would want anything else.

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, why are you intent on promoting policies that will hurt small businesses in the ACT, when existing legislation covers all safety requirements, as well as creating dangerous legal quagmires? Why push businesses over the border?

MR CORBELL: Exactly how would this impact on small business, Mr Speaker?

Mr Pratt: Additional cost.

MR CORBELL: It is costly to ensure that people are not killed. Is that the problem, Mr Pratt? Is that what you are saying?

If it is the position of the Liberal Party that it is too expensive to ensure workplace safety, then they need to go back and do some basic lessons in the importance of protecting the lives of people in workplaces. If the only argument the Liberal Party can mount in this regard is that it is too expensive to ensure workplace safety, then your opposition spokesperson on industrial relations has a lot to learn, Mr Speaker-a lot to learn indeed.

Insurance crisis

MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, my question through you is to the Deputy Chief Minister-the best Deputy Chief Minister we have had since Federation, I might tell you. My question relates to the government's response to the insurance crisis-a crisis caused by these people over here. Can the minister update the Assembly on the progress of negotiations for group buying arrangements-something in which we are all interested?

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. This is an important question that the government-and all governments in Australia-has wrestled with over the past year or so.

Two weeks ago in this place, I announced that the government had reached agreement in principle with a group insurance provider to provide much-needed public liability insurance cover to ACT non-profit and community groups. The ACT will be the first jurisdiction, along with New South Wales, to receive this scheme. That, Mr Speaker, is real action.

I noted, that, in his first speech as leader, Mr Smyth talked about that dog's breakfast he brought before this place as being the only initiatives before the Assembly in relation to insurance.

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