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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 March 2009) . . Page.. 1165 ..

similar protection. For workers compensation purposes we operate as an island in the middle of New South Wales, and I can tell you that division 8 of the New South Wales Workers Compensation Act 1987 provides similar protections to the employees of New South Wales.

I certainly do not want a situation where employees working across the border in New South Wales have protections denied to our own employees. The Workers Compensation (Terrorism) Amendment Bill 2009 will extend the operation of the temporary reinsurance fund in the event of a terrorist incident to 1 April 2012. Interestingly, New South Wales do not appear to have time limited their protection. Of course, it is their responsibility to look after the interests of their employees, just as it is our responsibility to look after the interests of our employees. That is what this bill does. Here in the ACT we believe that the appropriate course of action is to review this protection every few years.

In order for workers in the ACT to remain protected in the event of an act of terrorism, chapter 15 of the Workers Compensation Act needs further extension. It is appropriate to extend the provision for a further three years. As I said earlier, we operate a privately underwritten workers compensation scheme here in the ACT, and this extension will allow for changes in the industry with regard to coverage for a terrorist event. It also provides for reconsideration by the government of the risks involved on a regular basis.

Mr Speaker, I need to address remarks that Mrs Dunne made. Other than my exchange with her adviser, I became aware of the specific details today, and I find the response from my office to Mrs Dunne to be unacceptable, and it will not occur again. I pride myself on my responses to members. I have been in this place for 11 years, and there are two things which I felt were unacceptable. The first one was that the information requested, which was fairly simple, was not provided quickly. The second was the attitude which was conveyed in the emails, and for both of those I extend my apologies to Mrs Dunne publicly. As I said, it will not happen again.

I thank members very much for their support for this legislation. I make this final point, though, with regard to the date. As I said, New South Wales do not have a termination date. I could have come into this place and said we will just leave it open now, we will work on it as time goes by and if everything changes, then fine. But I think it is more important that we time limit our legislation for reconsideration and review and that we do ask our people and the insurance industry to get on with it.

This is a matter, in my view, of a conversation between the insurance agency of the ACT and the private sector insurance companies. My role as Minister for Industrial Relations is to make sure that the legislation actually protects our workers. But I do not believe that it is appropriate that this particular type of thing is open ended, and I think it is appropriate that, from time to time, the Assembly is actually brought up to date with where we are. So, again, I thank members very much for their support.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

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