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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 02 Hansard (Thursday, 25 February 2010) . . Page.. 709 ..

Workers Compensation (Default Insurance Fund) Amendment Bill 2010

Ms Gallagher, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.34): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

In 2009 I addressed the Assembly on various pieces of legislation that were designed to deliver improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of the workers compensation scheme established by the Workers Compensation Act 1951. In part, this work concerned the Default Insurance Fund Advisory Committee and its role as an advisory body to the fund manager and the Minister for Industrial Relations.

Underpinning the creation of the advisory committee was the government’s intention to provide the Minister for Industrial Relations and the fund manager with a mechanism by which to draw on the contribution of experience, knowledge and expertise of key stakeholders within the workers compensation environment in relation to the fund’s operations. The stakeholders were, and remain, employers, workers and insurers.

The introduction of the Workers Compensation (Default Insurance) Amendment Bill 2010 signals the government’s ongoing commitment to delivering the program of improvement initiatives that began in 2009.

The bill addresses the functioning and membership structure of the advisory committee. The bill proposes minor amendments to the functions of the advisory committee which clarify the scope of its role in the overall private sector workers compensation scheme and give effect to the government’s original intentions regarding its purpose.

Put simply, the amendments make clear that the primary function of the advisory committee is to keep abreast of the operations and conduct of the fund in order to provide, as requested, advice on the same to the Minister for Industrial Relations or the fund manager. These amendments do not detract from the advisory committee’s power to perform any other function conferred upon it under the act.

Secondly, the bill also proposes amendments to streamline the membership structure of the advisory committee to assure that it allows for robust, balanced stakeholder representation in a manner that is consistent with the role and purpose of the advisory committee.

Presently, the act requires that a total of six appointed members, split evenly across employers, workers and insurers, be appointed to the advisory committee. The fund

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