The ACT Government’s compulsory third party insurance (CTP) scheme was tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly on 19 March, however the ACT Law Society said it remains flawed.
In a statement issued on 18 March, the ACT Law Society said changes secured by the ACT Greens “will do nothing to protect innocent road users from having their rights stripped away”.
In particular, the Law Society said the reported Greens and ACT Government deal has not addressed: unequal power of insurers in disputes; the hundreds of injured people 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 (whole person impairment) Guidelines.
However, the ACT Greens said the changes negotiated with the ACT Government will provide a much fairer scheme.
“One of the biggest positives of the new scheme is that it will cover drivers who were ‘at fault’,” said Greens MLA Caroline Le Couteur. “A person who is injured due to a momentary lapse of attention, or because they hit an animal, will be able to receive support and treatment for their injuries through the CTP scheme. Under the existing scheme, these people have no means to seek financial support for what can be serious injuries.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said in his tabling speech that as “every one of Canberra’s 290,000 drivers has to pay for CTP with their annual registration, so we believe everyone who gets injured on the road should be covered”.
“That’s the fundamental, significant change this bill will make: to ensure everyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident is entitled to the treatment, care and support they need to get better and get their lives back on track.”
It is estimated that approximately 600 more Canberrans each year will be able to receive support under the new scheme.
Canberra’s feeling ‘enlightened’
Canberra’s Enlighten Festival has wrapped up for another year, having run from 1 to 17 March.
The festival, beginning with the Enlighten illuminations of Canberra landmarks and the Night Noodle Markets, draws large crowds to Reconciliation Place each year.
The Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) at Old Parliament House saw 18,000 people through the doors of their 33 Revolutions Exhibit, which was open on four nights.
The Canberra Balloon Spectacular ran from 11 to 17 March, with eager spectators rising early to catch a glimpse of the hot air balloons over Lake Burley Griffin.
The festival culminated with Hit 104.7’s Skyfire on Saturday 16 March, with crowds packing in around Lake Burley Griffin. An incident occurred at the annual fireworks event, with reports of a barge malfunctioning and sending embers towards the crowd.
In a statement, Hit 104.7 said one firework did malfunction, and while a “small number of embers” were reported to have landed along the nearby shoreline, no members of the public were injured.
“The malfunction resulted in the barge being isolated before the pyrotechnic team member in attendance, who is fine, followed procedure,” the statement said.