Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 21 August 2008) . . Page.. 3497 ..
I am certain that the local profession will embrace these reforms enthusiastically, as I am sure the people of Canberra will. Change was required and this government is in the process of delivering it. Significant delay in implementing the new CTP scheme is not an option and it should not be pursued by the Assembly.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.24): I thank Mr Stefaniak for bringing this bill before the Assembly and also the legal officers, the lawyers, who pointed out the need to do so. More and more of the effect of our legislation is governed by regulation. The new third party scheme passed by this Assembly earlier this year is such a beast. Given that the bill will commence next week, the issue of regulations comes to the fore.
This majority government has been erratic at best and often quite poor when it comes to following a good and proper process in developing legislation. It has also been erratic at best and often quite poor in ensuring that the Assembly has sufficient time to consider and respond to legislation and to concerns raised by the scrutiny of bills committee. The new work safety scheme is one completely blatant example where the need to secure an outcome acceptable to this government has taken precedence over real commitment to process in this place.
This majority government has also been erratic at best and often quite poor in its commitment to active and respectful consultation with stakeholders and the development and fine-tuning of its legislation. In today’s case, with the new third party insurance act commencing next week, the regulations that would govern so much of its operations have not yet been made. Well, they certainly were not available yesterday although they might have been finished by today.
However, I understand that in the development of the new third party insurance scheme the government had made an undertaking to make the regulations widely available and to allow stakeholders time to respond.
My instinct was to support this bill in order to allow the government to deliver on its promises. However, I recognise that we do not want to slow down the implementation of this scheme any more than necessary. In that context, I am happy now to accept the government’s freshly adopted approach as articulated in a briefing today to ensure that the act will not commence until October, that the regulations will be made available to interested parties by the end of today and that the next few weeks will be used to consult over the regulations and to reach agreement where possible.
I note also that any issues relating to the nominal defendant, should they occur—and that number would be very low—could be managed under provisions in the act relating to exceptional circumstances. I am afraid I cannot support Mr Stefaniak’s amendment because it would, in my mind, unpick too much of the intention of this act, which is to put timely processes in place.
This certainly is a matter that needs to be watched and I understand that the police have given an undertaking to process their component of the claims process in a timely manner based, it would seem, on new systems that they have in place. If that proves to be impossible we will need to revisit it. But I believe the act, as it stands, will allow the courts to deal with any occasional instances that fall foul of these provisions.