The Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer, Senator Helen Coonan, will convene the sixth Ministerial Meeting on Insurance Issues in Adelaide tomorrow (August 6).
Previous meetings with State and Territory Ministers during the last 18 months have focused on a range of measures to improve the affordability and availability of public liability insurance.
Reforms implemented to date are starting to have an impact on the insurance landscape.
Tomorrow's meeting will primarily focus on difficulties that professionals are facing in obtaining affordable professional indemnity insurance.
Senator Coonan said:
"A number of measures we have implemented to date, such as tort law reform, will have an impact on the ability of professionals to obtain insurance.
"But, specifically in relation to professionals, there are additional measures that we can and must take to ensure appropriate levels of professional indemnity insurance cover can be obtained on reasonable terms.
"A key outcome I would like out of tomorrow's meeting is a consensus from the States and Territories on a national approach to the issue of proportionate liability and a commitment to the adoption of professional standards legislation across the country."
Other issues to be discussed at tomorrow's meeting include examining the possibility of a long-term care scheme for the catastrophically injured.
In addition, while States and Territories have indicated some reluctance to including doctors within a scheme of professional standards legislation at this stage, the Commonwealth is keen to see this issue further examined as part of the ongoing review of long-term care.
"We also face a significant challenge in getting the message across to international insurers that the changes we have made will reduce the cost of claims and that the Australian marketplace has changed sufficiently to encourage them back," Senator Coonan said.
"I will be encouraging my State and Territory counterparts to consider how best we can achieve our objective of creating additional insurance capacity in the Australian market."
Senator Coonan will be joined tomorrow by NSW Treasurer Michael Egan and NSW Special Minister of State John Della Bosca, Victorian Minister of Finance John Lenders, Queensland Deputy Under Treasurer Tim Spencer, WA Minister for Government Enterprises Nick Griffiths, SA Treasurer Kevin Foley, Tasmanian Treasurer Dr David Crean, ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope, Northern Territory Treasurer Syd Stirling and Clr Brad Matheson Senior Vice-President of the Australian Local Government Association.
The meeting will be held at the Radisson Playford Hotel, 120 North Terrace, Adelaide and Senator Coonan will make a brief doorstop outside the hotel at 8.40am. A press conference following the meeting will be held at 3pm.
Media Contact: Jane McMillan 0408 762 216