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Thursday, 24 January 2019

Greens are right to call out Government’s flawed CTP scheme

The President of the ACT Law Society, Chris Donohue, today commended the ACT Greens for their decision to oppose the Barr Government’s proposed Compulsory Third Party scheme in its current form.

The ACT Law Society and other concerned groups within the community have been fighting against the Government’s unfair proposals for some time. It is heartening to see the Greens are listening to the community on this important matter.

The ACT Greens have correctly identified many of the flaws in the Government’s proposals. Most injured people will be worse off under the Government’s new scheme. Insurers will be handed unprecedented power in the way they administer personal injuries claims. The processes that provide for review of insurers’ decisions are woefully inadequate. The proposed treatment of injured children and injured older people will ensure they are particularly disadvantaged.

The Government’s own reports indicate that about 90% of crash victims will be worse off under the proposed scheme. This means many innocent road accident victims will no longer be fully compensated for their injuries.

The imposition of a whole person impairment test is a brutal mechanism that will be used to exclude people from accessing compensation for injuries sustained through no fault of their own in a motor vehicle accident.

The only winners from the Government’s proposals will be the insurance companies. The potential additional profit of the insurance companies has been calculated to be in excess of $15 million per year.

Recent experience in NSW has shown that the information provided to claimants by insurers can be inaccurate or even misleading. Government assurances that dishonest conduct can be regulated through the imposition of licence conditions on insurers is laughable.

Similarly, Government assertions that early treatment and care will be ‘safeguarded’ in their proposed scheme through the imposition of time lines, guidelines, conditions on insurer’s licences and the imposition of sanctions by the regulator is not credible. There are already timelines, guidelines, licence conditions and potential sanctions in place under the existing scheme. It is difficult to see how the new version will remedy what the old one has failed to achieve.

Like the ACT Greens, the Society believes that the objectives set out by the citizens’ jury are achievable. Unlike the Barr Government, the Society strongly believes that these objectives can be achieved without resorting to arbitrarily cutting the compensation payable to innocent road accident victims.

The Society will continue to work to ensure that the Government rethinks its harsh and unfair pro-insurer CTP scheme proposal.

For further information contact:
Mr Chris Donohue, President, ACT Law Society, T 02 6274 0300