Page 3131 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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down to 14 staff. It is a relatively important appropriation and I commend the appropriation to the Assembly.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (1.05 am): I have found the answers provided by Mr Matthews for the ACT Insurance Authority at the estimates committee very helpful in getting an understanding of the work they are undertaking with agencies to identify potential risks in their operations that can lead to increased costs and lower productivity. By identifying and minimising these risks, agencies can potentially save considerable costs.

We support the program that they have to assist agencies to examine their operations and decrease the total cost of insurable risk. Mr Matthews gave the example of the work done with ACTION buses. By building a database to record incident information and then analysing data, ACTION are able to build this into driver training, to reduce the number of incidents and costs associated with their staff and fleet of 400 buses. It is noted there are some welcome savings in the budget as a result of the decrease in the annual insurance premiums charged to agencies.

One issue we wish to draw to the Assembly’s attention is insurance for midwives assisting with home births. The ACT Greens believe that Canberra women should have the right to choose a home birth if that is what is appropriate for them. Unfortunately, we are in a situation where women can no longer choose this option, as we no longer have any independent midwives registered in the ACT and government-employed midwives are not insured to attend home births, insurance being the key issue.

To address this, the parliamentary agreement calls on the ACT government to reconsider the option of midwives in the Canberra midwifery program attending home births by the end of 2009. The Greens appreciate that the ACT government have done this. We have been informed by the Minister for Health that for this to occur $1 million will need to be allocated by ACT Health to the ACT Insurance Authority. But we have also been told that there are other pressing priorities this year and for that reason the funding did not get up. The Greens will continue to lobby the government on this over the next year and we expect to see it funded in next year’s appropriation. The ACT Greens will be supporting this line in the appropriation bill.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.20—Actew Corporation Ltd, $10,004,000 (net cost of outputs), totalling $10,004,000.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (1.08 am): I would like to comment only briefly on Actew Corporation. My main concern here is that Actew has managed to creep up the costs of its major water security projects, such as the Cotter Dam, and that now the cost is more than twice what it would have been if the government had decided to build the dam back in 2005. In April 2005, Actew Corporation’s future water options report estimated that the cost of the enlarged Cotter reservoir to 78 gigalitres would be $120 million.

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