Page 4137 - Week 11 - Thursday, 17 Sept 2009

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Compensation Act and results in an inequitable allocation of risk across the employee market. Every claim made against the fund by principal contractors in these circumstances represents an increased cost to those compliant employers within the territory. For these reasons, this bill proposes a range of improvements that will restore the uninsured employer arm of the fund to its intended role—that of a safety net to ensure that injured workers have access to adequate and timely compensation benefits.

Importantly, the changes proposed will not affect the ability of injured workers to access other entitlements in respect of any work-related injury. The proposed amendments will bring home to roost that the responsibility of ensuring ACT workers are protected in the event of suffering a work-related injury lies with principal contractors and subcontractors, thereby ensuring that noncompliant employers do not receive an advantage over those employers who satisfy their workers compensation obligations under law.

The introduction of these amendments is further intended to improve the efficient and effective management of the fund with a view to ensuring its sustained operation. To further this goal, the bill introduces amendments that will implement a revised funding model through which the fund raises capital to fund liabilities that arise from claims of uninsured employers. These amendments are important on several grounds. Firstly, the amendments will bring the funding model into line with standard insurance practice in recognition of the fact that the fund operates in the shoes of an insurer within the ACT workers compensation scheme.

In addition, the amendments will ensure that the fund operates in a manner that is sustainable and consistent with the principles of robust credential management. Finally, the amendments will allow the fund to build sufficient reserves to meet its liabilities that arise through the actions of those employers who fail to protect their workers. Detail regarding implementation of the funding model will be the subject of further consultation with the industry.

In conclusion, the Workers Compensation (Default Insurance Fund) Amendment Bill 2009 (No 2) will assist to ensure the DI fund operates in a fair and equitable manner across the employer market and that it remains a viable safety net for injured workers well into the future.

I would like to express my appreciation to Robert Gotts, Meg Brighton, John Rees and Louise Gilding from the Office of Industrial Relations for their assistance in not only compiling this piece of legislation but also conducting the consultation process across the two sectors—that of the employer and that of the employee.

I note for the record the encouragement we have received from the chamber of commerce and industry. The chief executive, Dr Peters, indicated that his members are very keen to make sure that employers carry their full responsibility in respect of compensation in the event of an injury to their employees.

I also note the support of Mr John Miller, from the Master Builders Association, who has indicated that most of their members are compliant, and proudly so. There are

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