AFTER the Barr government proposed a new “Motor Accident Injuries scheme” today (September 20), president of the ACT Law Society, Sarah Avery, is urging all Canberrans to raise their voices against the unfair changes to compulsory third party (CTP) insurance.
“The society rejects many aspects of the government’s proposal,” Ms Avery says.
“If implemented, the new scheme will degrade the ACT’s CTP insurance scheme, leaving innocently injured road accident victims and their families in financial hardship and emotional distress.
“Road users, including not only motor vehicle drivers and passengers, but also bicycle riders, motor cycle riders and pedestrians, should be deeply concerned about the changes being proposed.”
Ms Avery says the scheme impacts:
- about 90 per cent of Canberra road users injured through no fault of their own will lose their right to fair compensation;
- the current fair level of compensation provided to innocent road accident victims will be traded away to pay benefits to the driver who caused the accident;
- injured people without the assistance of specialist advice will be expected to settle disputes about their medical treatment and their capacity to work directly with well-resourced insurers;
- insurance companies will have an expanded role in determining when and if compensation to injured people is paid;
- the scheme does not compel insurers to guarantee early treatment and care for injured people; and
- insurance companies will have far greater control over when and how much they pay out to accident victims, and they will be able to make even larger profits.
Ms Avery says it’s astounding that in this climate the Barr government is willing to place so much trust in corporate responsibility on behalf of injured people.
“The ACT scheme is one of the fairest and most stable CTP schemes in the country,” she says.
“It is vital that the community send a strong message to the Barr government that they do not want their rights to be eroded so shamefully.”
The Legislative Assembly voted to refer the government’s proposed scheme, to the Justice and Community Safety Committee for review.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr says the government is reforming the scheme because at the moment it doesn’t cover everyone injured in a motor vehicle accident and it can take two years or more to get a full payout.
The Justice and Community Safety Committee will report by the end of October and its input will inform the final bill that is set to be introduced to the Legislative Assembly by the end of 2018.