Page 5719 - Week 15 - Thursday, 10 December 2009

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parents’ hair while they do whatever it is that they do when children are out of the house? Should they carry workers compensation to cover that?

These are issues that require further consideration, but for now my amendment simply seeks to restore the currently existing provisions. Further, the scrutiny of bills committee commented on two paragraphs: 149(4)(viii) and 162A(3)(viii). These paragraphs give the chief executive the power to have regard to any other factor the chief executive considers relevant while deciding to reduce a recovery amount. Again, I will be proposing amendments in relation to this issue, which I will address more fully in the detail stage.

Another positive element to this bill is that its provisions are similar to those in other jurisdictions, including New South Wales. As we approach national uniformity in workers compensation laws, business and industry, we can expect better efficiencies and lower insurance premium costs. With mutual recognition of rehabilitation service providers, business and industry can not only expect better efficiencies and lower costs, they can also expect more consistent service delivery across the various jurisdictions.

With businesses and industry commonly operating across jurisdictions, these kinds of measures, with their associated efficiencies and lower cost, can only be positive for business. This is good legislation that we are considering today. I am told there is more to come, and I look forward to it. The Canberra Liberals are pleased to support this bill.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (4.00): The Greens will be supporting the bill today; however, I will highlight the amendments we will be offering, which we believe will improve the compliance regime for compulsory workers compensation insurance.

Irrespective of the strength of occupational health and safety policies, protective equipment and practices, it is an unfortunate reality that people are occasionally seriously injured at work. Even the safest of employers is likely to have a situation where one of their employees is injured at work. Every practical step must be taken to minimise injuries in the workplace; however, in recognition of the fact that injuries are on some level inevitable, companies are required to have workers compensation insurance at all times. The purpose of this insurance is twofold: to ensure timely payment of workers compensation to employees and to ensure that unforeseen accidents do not bankrupt employers. It is a commonsense measure to make this insurance compulsory for the benefit of the injured worker, the other workers, the business owners and other stakeholders.

Recognising, then, that workers compensation insurance is a necessary cost for business, it makes sense to minimise the cost and complication of requiring workers compensation. We believe that the measures in the bill to reduce red tape and compliance costs enable responsible businesses to reduce costs whilst continuing to provide services. In particular, the removal of the requirement for all businesses to provide certificates for registered auditors and instead provide statutory declarations removes a significant barrier to cost-effective, timely compliance.

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