Page 4105 - Week 13 - Thursday, 31 October 2013

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Members will recall that the 2012 getting home safely inquiry into construction industry work safety compliance highlighted a need for ACT employers to urgently address poor work safety cultures and commit to ambitious injury reduction targets. The government accepted all of those recommendations, including the introduction of new powers for work safety inspectors and increasing the size of the inspectorate. These are important measures and they require a significant investment on the part of taxpayers. The funding reforms introduced by the Workers Compensation Amendment Bill will ensure that industry makes an appropriate financial contribution to the enhancement of the ACT work health and safety regime.

The bill before the Assembly today represents months of careful planning and industry consultation. Red tape reduction measures included in the bill will allow for several insurance levies to be streamlined and administered more consistently and efficiently. These changes have been welcomed by workers compensation insurers and will reduce costs for both insurers and government. The streamlined levy administration arrangements that will be enabled by the bill will also provide protection to employers by helping to prevent insurers from overcharging for workers compensation insurance.

The Workers Compensation Amendment Bill represents a large step towards modernising the territory workers compensation and work health and safety regimes. It will align the territory funding model with New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria and is responsive to user-pays principles. The new funding model also features cost-relief measures for employers. These include a cap on the amount that can be collected through the insurer levy each year and an offsetting reduction in the amount employers are charged for managing uninsured employer workers compensation claims.

Once implemented, the work health and safety component of the insurer levy will cover the costs of services provided by work safety inspectors, WorkSafe investigation and work health and safety licensing and certification staff, work health and safety hotline officers and associated information technology and policy support services. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question put:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 8

Noes 7

Mr Barr

Mr Corbell

Mr Coe

Mrs Jones

Ms Berry

Ms Gallagher

Mr Doszpot

Ms Lawder

Dr Bourke

Mr Gentleman

Mrs Dunne

Mr Smyth

Ms Burch

Mr Rattenbury

Mr Hanson

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

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