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Beattie Government to drive up insurance costs for small business and community groups.

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Monday 19th February 2007

Beattie Government To Drive Up Insurance Costs For Small Business And Community Groups

"Small business and community groups will see their insurance cover rise if the proposal by the new Queensland Attorney General, Kerry Shine, to undo the tort law reforms of recent years is adopted" the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer,

Peter Dutton said today.

"Reports in the Courier Mail today indicate that Mr Shine wants a return to a more litigious, more expensive and less sustainable personal injury system."

"It is clear that Mr Shine has little appreciation for the benefits flowing to the whole community from the changes to tort law, which Mr Beattie has so strongly supported in the past."

"Mr Beattie should act quickly to pull Mr Shine into line or come out and confirm that he wants a return to the bad old days when insurance cover was out of reach for small business people, professionals and community groups" Mr Dutton said.

"One of the factors that contributed to the insurance crisis in 2002 was the rising and unsustainable levels of damages being awarded by the courts in keeping with a 'deepest pockets' mentality'.

"Without the changes made by the Federal, State and Territory Governments public liability and professional indemnity premiums would have moved beyond the reach of many groups in the community. Much of the business, social and sporting activities that we take for granted now would have had to cease."

“The tort law reforms of recent years have had a positive impact on the availability and affordability of public liability and professional indemnity insurance.”

"The early signs have been very promising with premiums for public liability falling by 13.4 per cent in 2005 and professional indemnity insurance falling by 6 per cent. This follows on from falls of 6.9 per cent and 1.2 per cent for public liability and

professional indemnity respectively in 2004."

"The reforms were agreed to in the spirit of co-operative federalism and need to be given time to mature."

"I call on Mr Beattie to maintain his commitment to the reforms so that the longer term benefits for individuals, community groups, professionals and business people in Queensland will be realised" Mr Dutton said.

Media Contact: Brad Emery 02 6277 7360 - 0414 225 638