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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1590 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

increases the revenue to be raised from the industry, while maintaining the existing cap on the number of gaming machines available to prevent the expansion of gambling. Changes to the marginal top tax rate for gaming machines limit the impact of the tax on larger clubs with capacity to pay.

It is important to highlight, Mr Speaker, that the revenue measures contained in this budget are far outweighed by the very significant increases in the services this government will provide to the people of Canberra. In short, Mr Speaker, the money is being well spent.

It is also important to heed the Commonwealth Grants Commission, who, upon recognising that the ACT has a greater capacity to raise certain revenues, reduces the amount of money the Commonwealth provides, leaving the ACT with a significant gap to fill.

Mr Speaker, the government also currently has before the Assembly a bill designed to enhance both the fairness and equity of the ACT rating system.

The new rating system introduces a certainty for ratepayers never before seen in Canberra. Under Labor's system, home owners and home buyers will know exactly how their rates will increase year after year in perpetuity.

Labor believes that the residents of the ACT, after judging our system and the certainty it provides compared to the random and huge increases in unimproved values of the old system, will arrive at the same conclusion that Labor has.

There is no doubt that the residents in the very long list of suburbs that have had their land values increase by up to 50 per cent per year will see the benefit of our system.

Community insurance

Mr Speaker, I turn now to the insurance crisis and how this government has responded.

Five ministerial insurance summits have been held, the latest on 4 April 2003. The summits have progressively undertaken greater and more complex responsibilities as the various facets of the insurance crisis have developed and intensified.

Mr Speaker, this government's approach to the insurance crisis continues to be an emphasis on accessible and affordable insurance, while maintaining the rights of individuals to just compensation. The Assembly is well aware of the government's tort reform legislation that includes both protection for our citizens, volunteers, good Samaritans, and restrictions on lawyers and certain types of negligence actions. The courts have begun to reflect the government's determination to reform tort law in an equitable way.

More reforms will be presented in the coming months but I want members to understand the principles under which the government is approaching tort reform: to focus on areas of procedural tort law in the ACT across the whole personal injury infrastructure, not just public liability, that are amenable to more efficient and effective outcomes without wholesale disenfranchisement of the majority of ACT claimants.

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