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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Greens call for CTP scheme changes

The ACT Greens have outlined key areas for improvement to the proposed new Compulsory Third Party (CTP) Insurance system before they will support the legislation.

The decision to oppose the scheme in its current form was welcomed by the ACT Law Society who, along with other concerned groups within the community, has been fighting against the government’s proposals for some time.

President of the ACT Law Society, Chris Donohue, said under the current plan the “compensation that a person would be entitled to for their injuries is going to be significantly reduced … the other side of that is the insurers are going to have windfall profits”.

“The main thing for us is that the compensation that innocent road users should get for their injuries to enable them to get on with their lives is not cut and also to make it possible for people who are injured to be able to process their claims through quickly.”

Greens spokesperson Caroline Le Couteur MLA said the CTP system is an important issue for Canberrans.

“Any of us can be injured in a motor vehicle accident and this can have life-changing implications,” she said. “The Greens want to ensure that the CTP system looks after people that are injured, and provides the care and support they need.”

Improvements outlined by the Greens include: Adequate support for accident victims; greater flexibility in access to common law for certain claimants, to prevent harsh outcomes from the “whole person impairment test” (including children and people with particular vocational circumstances); extending the number of years that people can access defined benefits: for all victims, at fault or otherwise; controlling the influence of insurance companies, including by preventing insurer “super profits” and placing strict and enforceable obligations on insurers to provide information and support to claimants; and removing barriers for claimants, including by allowing them additional time to lodge claims, and allowing them to review insurer decisions in ACAT.

Much of the operation of the scheme will be set out in regulations, which the Greens have also asked to be made public before the legislation is voted on by the Assembly. This is a view shared by Mr Donohue who described the current legislation as “trying to do a jigsaw when a quarter of the pieces are missing”.

“There are about 30 to 40 points throughout the 300 pages (of legislation) which says we will work that out later in the guidelines. Surely those things all need to be on the table.”

Mr Donohue said the best outcome would be for the government to take a step back and, with the feedback they have received, rewrite the legislation “so it’s fair”.

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Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts