Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer
26 November 2001 - 17 July 2004
27 June 2002
TRADE PRACTICES ACT AMENDMENTS WILL ASSIST SPORT AND TOURISM PROVIDERS
The Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer, Senator Helen Coonan, announced today that legislation to allow individuals to assume their own risk when undertaking risky activities will be introduced in to the Parliament today.
Senator Coonan said the Commonwealth had agreed to make these amendments to the Trade Practices Act at the last Ministerial Meeting on Public Liability Insurance at the end of May.
"As discussed at the May meeting, the Commonwealth will be making changes to the Trade Practices Act so that individuals are able to waive their right to sue when undertaking risky recreational activities.
"Although the vast bulk of the law reform required to stabilise insurance premiums must be undertaken in State and Territory jurisdictions, amending the Trade Practices Act is a concrete step that the Commonwealth is able to take.
"These measures will assist operators of businesses such as adventure tourism and sports, who are currently prevented from relying on waivers.
Senator Coonan said in allowing people to voluntarily waive their right to sue, it was important to achieve a balance between protecting consumers and allowing them to take responsibility for themselves.
The amendments will still allow injured consumers to sue if they are the victims of gross negligence on the part of the operator.
"Operators of adventure tourism and sport businesses must still take the necessary precautions to run safe and responsible businesses," Senator Coonan said.
The amendments to the Trade Practices Act follow two successful meetings on the issue of public liability insurance and the Commonwealth's introduction of legislation to encourage the use of structured settlements to pay negligence claims instead of one-off lump sums.
"The steep insurance premium rises currently being experienced by many businesses, community groups and not for profit organisations are an issue that needs to be tackled by all levels of Government in Australia," Senator Coonan said.
"The Commonwealth is doing its part but all States and Territories must also take responsible action to reform their own laws to reduce the cost of negligence claims and take some of the pressure off insurance premiums."