Mr ARMSTRONG: My question without notice is directed to the Premier. Have New South Wales businesses such as the Seabird manufacturing company at Port Macquarie, which makes uniforms for Australia's Olympic basketball team, suffered an increase of 70 per cent in their WorkCover premiums? What action does the Premier plan to protect country businesses from, in some cases, a doubling of their premiums?
Mr CARR: Let us look at the cause of the increase in workers compensation premiums. Last year the Government sponsored reforms to workers compensation, designed to achieve a reduction in premiums which, as is well known, were blocked in the upper House by the vote of the coalition.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Leader of the National Party to order for the third time.
Mr CARR: John Hannaford ruled the roost on that issue. In the upper House John Hannaford acted to protect the privileges of solicitors over the interests of employers and job creation. He blocked major slabs of reform to the workers compensation
system that were designed only to reduce the cost of premiums. I challenge the Leader of the National Party to provide me with the names and addresses of any country industry in New South Wales that has raised this matter with him and I will write to those concerned and give them an account of how the Government's reforms of the workers compensation system were blocked by the action of the Opposition in the upper House.