Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 15 Hansard (Thursday, 10 December 2009) . . Page.. 5726 ..
information, it is not possible to determine the level of compliance that currently exists in the community or the impact it would have. The answer to these uncertainties would inform us as to what the most appropriate protections for householders are in the context of workers compensation legislation.
I would again note that this issue does require a more thorough period to investigate the impact of this bill on householders. While we are not supporting this amendment today, we would be pleased to work with the Liberals into the future on developing appropriate amendments to the bill.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.22): The government will support the opposition’s amendment. The current enacted legislation provides for householders to be penalised 50 penalty points for non-insurance and excludes householders from criminal penalties.
The proposed provisions, as tabled by the government in the last Assembly sitting, restructure the penalty hierarchy. For failure to comply with the orders for non-insurance, default notices will culminate in prosecution and/or cease business orders. A genuine non-business employer would be expected to comply with the initial default notice and establish a policy, thereby avoiding criminal prosecution. The opposition amendment expressly reflects this expectation.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause 11, as amended, agreed to.
MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (4.23): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 5769].
The ACT Greens are pleased to propose the amendments circulated in my name. We believe that they strengthen compliance and provide greater incentives to ensure that employers fulfil their basic responsibilities in providing workers compensation insurance for all staff.
In regard to amendment No 1, which also stands for my amendment No 2, we believe that the status of workers compensation insurance in any given company is a simple binary. Either a company is fulfilling its responsibilities in providing adequate levels of coverage or it is not. This amendment removes explicit mention of prior compliance as a criterion by which the chief executive can reduce recovery amounts.
The ACT Greens feel that prior compliance does not affect the magnitude of the problem of not supplying adequate insurance to cover their workers. We believe a business should not be able to make a case for reduction in recovery amounts based upon previous behaviour, and this undermines the very purpose of the bill in ensuring that recovery amounts are always substantially more than the premiums avoided.