Page 4055 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 20 September 2011

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message that people did not need to carry their own insurance to cover them for things such as this.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur, a supplementary.

MS LE COUTEUR: How much funding is available to cover any compensation if it is required from the ACT Insurance Authority, any ACT government insurance cover or would be recovered from the company, ESI?

MS GALLAGHER: On that broader question, there are costs involved in the clean-up. The EPA would have incurred substantial costs and, of course, the emergency response would have. That will all be worked out in time. I think the focus in the last four days or five days has really been to make sure we can get Mitchell opened as soon as possible but that all the appropriate testing was done and that the emergency response was finalised.

SEMSOG, the security and emergency management senior officials group, which meets frequently and has met frequently since early Friday morning, has officers of the Treasury and Economic Development directorates that sit on it and they are actively interested in this space. But we do not have any final advice, including what we may be able to recoup for some of those costs from the factory owners through their business arrangements.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Minister, what discussions has the government had with ESI about their liability and have you considered how the government’s compensation payments will be affected if they go out of business?

MS GALLAGHER: I think there have been discussions with the business owner. I have to say that the focus of those discussions in the last few days has been about managing the immediate response rather than who is going to pay for what. But those discussions will be had. It has certainly been made very clear to me, from the EPA particularly, that there are responsibilities of the owner that need to be met here. So they will be ongoing, and I am sure we will both be very happy to update Assembly members as they progress.

MS BRESNAN: A supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Bresnan.

MS BRESNAN: Minister, at this stage will compensation payments be restricted to those businesses within close proximity to the fire or widened to include all businesses in Mitchell?

MS GALLAGHER: I think I have probably covered off the answer to that with Ms Le Couteur’s question. We are not at this point offering blanket or open

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