Page 1951 - Week 06 - Friday, 6 May 2005

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Why have a fixed charge on rural leases? Because the rates are calculated in blocks, if we said that we wanted some form of equity between rural leases and all the people in the suburbs, it would create a very heavy impost on the owners of the higher valued leases—an inordinate increase. Cabinet discussed that and we concluded—not decided—that it would be a more equitable thing to do to have a relatively small fixed charge and keep the proportional increase of the variable element of the rates formula consistent with that which is applied to the rest of Canberra. I think that is pretty fair. I close by thanking members for their support for this bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Insurance Authority Bill 2005

Debate resumed from 17 March 2005, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (10.25): The purpose of this bill is to improve the operations of the ACT Insurance Authority in the light of experience since it was established in 2000. The ACT Insurance Authority is a captive insurer. It provides insurance cover to ACT government entities only. Those entities have no choice, of course, when it comes to insurance, so they have to hope that they are getting a good deal. Being loyal subjects, they trust the government.

The main area that the insurance authority does not cover is workers compensation. That is covered by Comcare. The insurance authority covers property and physical assets, public and product liability, professional indemnity, medical malpractice, directors and officers liability, third party motor vehicle insurance for some agencies, aviation liability—I am not sure what that is all about—and volunteer personal injury and liability.

Its role includes promoting best practice risk management to minimise claims against and losses by the territory. Agencies are charged a premium which reflects their claims history and an assessment of their expected performance. This premium and the availability of discounts, we would hope, act as an incentive to improve risk management.

In 2003-04, the insurance authority did not manage its operations within its overall budget. The deficit was, in fact, $13.3 million. However, as the Auditor-General noted at pages 57 to 59 of report No 10 of 2004, relating to the 2003-04 financial audits, it is doubtful that the budget could have been achieved, given the identification of significant medical insurance claims right at the end of the year. That experience raises the question: why did the insurance authority not know about these claims? Of course, that was the

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