The Hon. Dr B. P. V. PEZZUTTI: Is the Attorney General, and Minister for Industrial Relations aware that workers compensation claims on abattoirs in 1993-94 and in each of the successive years 1994-95 and 1995-96 have declined by 13 per cent and 23 per cent respectively? Is the Minister aware also that the tariff rates prescribed by WorkCover have increased by 21 per cent and 40 per cent respectively and that for 1996-97 the tariff rates increased by 12 per cent? What will the Minister do to stop this escalation in costs, which is causing the closure of abattoirs in rural New South Wales?
The Hon. J. W. SHAW: The premiums for a particular industry are calculated, I believe, scientifically, on the claims record of that industry. There are rights of appeal against those determinations if people think that they have been unfairly calculated. In his question the honourable member simply referred to the number of claims. Obviously that is a simplistic and inadequate way to measure the calculation of premiums. We have to look at the cost of those claims. If an industry has a bad record of accidents and a lot of expensive claims, obviously the premiums will exceed the average level of premiums. I can quote other industries in which, because of good claims records, the premiums have gone down significantly in recent years.