Territory Stories

Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 18 June 2002



Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 18 June 2002

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Parliamentary Record 5


Question for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Questions for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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QUESTIONS -Tuesday 18 June 2002 the Northern Territory Council of Social Services and various other groups such as ACROD and COTA. I have to say that the response from these groups has been extremely positive. They are saying that they have been wanting us to bring on a review; they are extremely happy and this is a very positive move for the Northern Territory. They are very pleased that it is a short review and they are saying: Please make sure that when the recommendations come down that you implement them. I can assure the House today that that is exactly what we will be doing. This is a very positive thing for the people of the Northern Territory. We will be seeing much improved outcomes for health in the future because of this review, and because of the wonderful staff in the Department of Health and Community Services. Public Liability Crisis Ms SCRYMGOUR to CHIEF MINISTER What is the Northern Territory government doing to address the public liability crisis? ANSWER Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Arafura for her question. It is a very important question, recognised as such by the issues raised by the opposition on General Business Day tomorrow. Public liability is an important issue, as is the rise we have seen in premiums over the last two years, both for the Territory and the rest of Australia. The two meetings that have been held by insurance ministers, one in March and another in May, certainly indicate how this issue is being dealt with in an effective way right across the country. When you look at the size of the Territory insurance market is, we are tiny. We are less than 1% of the national market and we, as a Territory, have very few options if we act alone, because of the nature of insurance markets. Anyone who does understand that would simply understand that statement quite clearly. As far as we and the rest of Australia is concerned, we have to get the solutions right. Therefore, we have to act effectively with a reasonable time frame, but not in haste, so we do get those answers. The Territory government has responded with a clear action plan. We will be acting in concert with other states and the Commonwealth, I believe, to be able to get real gains at minimal costs. I think this is the important thing. I will run through some of the measures we have aheady taken. In April, we established a hotline and we have taken over 100 calls. Just over 60 calls came in the first couple of weeks and since then we have only had about five a week. We have been able to deal with a range of issues that have been put on that hotline. About one-third of the calls came from community groups; the remainder came from small business. The vast majority of those calls from small business were predominantly from tourism operators. We have dealt with those issues as they have come in. The hotline is still operating, and is an effective mechanism. We also have an associated web site - again more information on that. We have made changes to government procurements ... Mr Burke: Have you tried it? You havent, have you? Have you tried your own hotline? Ms MARTIN: It is very disappointing that the Leader of the Opposition, who has raised this as an issue for his General Business Day, is now rabbiting on and not listening to what the government has done. Even more disappointingly, I do not think he has even asked for a briefing on what the government has done. He stands in here posturing, gets up here and trapezes - let us use the word that was used to us so often-but has not asked for a briefing. He is out there standing on the steps, making statements out of context, and he has not asked for a briefing. The hypocrisy is quite outstanding. I would advise the Leader of the Opposition, and his mates, to listen. As I was saying, we have made changes to government procurement. The clauses in contracts have been revised to ensure that requhed insurance is not prohibitive, while the government interests are reasonably protected. We are reviewing the $10m mandatory requirement, particularly for supply. Those initiatives are being taken. The new measures under way are risk management strategies. Again, if the Leader of the Opposition had bothered to have a briefing, he would understand the importance of reducing risks, particularly for non-govemment and community organisations, but also for businesses. Many of those organisations have never really dealt with their risk strategies and how they can reduce premiums through effective risk management. Those seminars will be starting later this month. That will be associated with the web site and the hotline, so we can talk to community groups about what they can effectively do. I think the opposition is working from some kind of misguided and ignorant premise, that tackling this issue is some kind of one-hit wonder. Well, it is not. It would be lovely to be able to come in here and say: Yes, there is one magical answer to the problems we are facing with public liability 248

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