Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 422 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
scheme at all-or, at best, it would not have a scheme the community could afford. This is about addressing the emerging impact of terrorism on an aspect of insurance which affects each and every one of us.
Without reinsurance, it is questionable about whether NRMA Insurance-or, for that matter, any other insurance company-would be able to offer compulsory third party insurance at an affordable rate. Further, it is expected that the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority would express concern about a scheme being offered without adequate reinsurance.
Mr Speaker, I commend the bill to the Assembly.
MRS CROSS (10.59): This bill is an amending bill of the Civil Rights (Wrongs) Act 2002 and the Road Transport (General) Act 1999. The purpose of this amendment bill is to provide, in relation to compulsory CTP insurance, a temporary solution to the reaction by the reinsurance market to the events of September 11. The amendments contained in this bill are temporary in nature. They will last for a period of two years, being due to expire on 31 December, 2004.
The bill has two exceptions. These are that someone who commits or promotes an act of terrorism will remain liable to civil action, and that workers compensation entitlements under the Workers Compensation Act 1951-and corresponding to Commonwealth, state and territory laws-will not be affected.
This is a technical bill which has regrettably been made necessary by the existence of global terrorism. No-one could have imagined that Osama bin Laden could have had an effect upon people's third party insurance premiums but, clearly, the necessity of this bill shows otherwise. I support its passage and look forward to the day-as indeed I expect all other members do-when it will no longer be necessary on our statute books.
MR WOOD (Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for the Arts and Heritage and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.01): A lot has happened since 26 September last year when I moved, in this chamber, that this bill be agreed to in principle. On that occasion, I observed that it was only then-in September 2002-one year after the shocking events of the morning of September 11, 2001, in New York, Washington and over the fields of Pennsylvania, that we fully comprehended the implications of the despicable acts of terror perpetrated by al-Qaeda in the skies over north-eastern USA. Indeed, Mrs Cross has mentioned that some of the outcomes could not be envisaged at that time.
I explained that, as a direct consequence of those far-away events, reinsurance-that is the insurance that insurance companies take out against natural disasters and other catastrophes-had become much more expensive, and harder to obtain for all insurers. I also noted that reinsurance, specifically against acts of terrorism, had become virtually unobtainable for most classes of general insurance, including compulsory third party insurance.
We were all wrong to think, if we did, that we know the full measure of the global problem of terrorism and its likely impact on Australia. To demonstrate this, I need only