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Hockey urges Latham to stop Labor keeping insurance premiums high.



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Media Release The Hon Joe Hockey MP Minister for Small Business and Tourism

March 1, 2004

HOCKEY URGES LATHAM TO STOP LABOR KEEPING INSURANCE PREMIUMS HIGH

Australian small businesses and sporting, social and cultural clubs will see their insurance premiums fall if Federal Labor leader, Mark Latham would tell Labor Senators to stop blocking insurance reform legislation, the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Joe Hockey, said today.

Mr Hockey said all Labor State and Territory Governments had called for the legislation to be passed to help cut the premiums, with NSW Treasurer, Michael Egan urging Labor and Democrat Senators “to pass the legislation that the Government has presented to it.”

“Mr Egan correctly said that if anyone is dragging the chain it was the Senate,” Mr Hockey said.

The Federal, State and Territory Ministers issued an agreed communiqué after last Friday’s Ministerial Meeting on Insurance, saying,

“All Governments have renewed their support for amendments to the TPA to underpin State and Territory personal injury law reform to be implemented as soon as possible”

Mr Hockey, answering a question from the Member for Canning (WA), Don Randall, noted that in the Canning electorate a company called Peel Horseback Adventure at Pinjarra was forced to close down because it could not get affordable insurance cover.

“Also in the Canning electorate, an engineering company had seen its public liability insurance premiums rise from $800 to $6000,” Mr Hockey said.

“ALP Senators are blocking our chance to reduce insurance premiums. The Opposition Leader, Mark Latham, could easily tell them to pass the legislation so that small businesses and clubs are not hit by historically high premiums.”

“Recently the Labor Member for Lyons (Tasmania) was calling for this matter to be resolved, and how the Senior Labor State Treasurer has joined the call for Federal Labor to stop forcing Australians to pay such high premiums.

“The ball is in Mark Latham’s court to help bring down these high insurance premiums,” Mr Hockey said.

Media enquiries: Bob Lawrence - 0408 974 349