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Monday, 18 March 2019

Proposed CTP scheme remains flawed

Negotiations conducted by the Barr Government have failed to address significant flaws in the proposed CTP scheme.

Instead, they have put forward a series of ad-hoc changes that will push the proposed scheme from incoherent to utterly unworkable. The proposed changes will do nothing to protect innocent road users from having their rights stripped away and handed to the insurance companies in the form of increased profits.

The Government, and now (according to media reports) the Greens, are choosing to ignore the hundreds of people who will no longer receive proper compensation. Hundreds of people who have paid CTP premiums in good faith and been injured by the fault of others.

While the Society has consistently supported the inclusion of all injured people into the scheme, it strongly opposes doing so at the expense of innocently injured victims.

This is exactly what the Barr Government and, it seems, the Greens are proposing to do. Under the proposed scheme, most innocently injured people will no longer receive common law damages, and their ability to receive income replacement as well as treatment and care will be decided at the discretion of insurers.

Under the proposed scheme, claimants, without legal representation, will have to repeatedly argue their case before ACAT if they wish to dispute an insurer’s decision in relation to necessary treatment and care, loss of income, or capacity to work.

The reported Greens / Government deal has not addressed:

  • unequal power of insurers in disputes;
  • the hundreds of injured people (such as the unwaged) who will not meet the limited exceptions, and who will no longer receive proper compensation;
  • the arbitrary decision to exclude superannuation from gross income;
  • the futility of having a quality of life payment of $350,000 for people with a whole person impairment of 100%, where no-one will qualify for the payment;
  • a wide range of further restrictions and losses to accident victims and their families; and
  • the significant gaps in the legislation given the absence of the Regulations and the WPI Guidelines.

The promised premium savings — now acknowledged to be well short of savings initially touted — still do not factor in the cost of the new bureaucracy needed to administer the scheme, and the costs of administering disputes inherent in the proposed scheme.

The reported deal between the ACT Greens and the Barr Government has major failings.

The Society calls on the Greens to hold the Government to account and to continue to work to ensure the ACT’s CTP scheme is not dismantled in this unfair and unjust manner.

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