ACT Law Society backs Greens rejection of ‘unfair’ CTP scheme
ACT Law Society president Chris Donohue has commended the ACT Greens in deciding to oppose the Barr government’s proposed Compulsory Third Party Scheme.
Mr Donohue said the ACT Greens have correctly identified many of the flaws in the government’s proposal of the CTP scheme, noting that most injured people will be worse off if the CTP scheme proceeds in its current form.
Under the proposal, Mr Donohue said 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,” he added.
To further his point, Mr Donohue noted that the government’s own reports “indicate that about 90 per cent 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,” he explained.
“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.”
Further, Mr Donohue said the ACT’s neighbouring state NSW has proven that 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,” he said.
“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."
In conclusion, Mr Donohue said similarly to 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,” he added.
“The Society will continue to work to ensure that the government rethinks its harsh and unfair pro-insurer CTP scheme proposal.”
Last year, Canberra-based lawyer Arthur Marusevich also flagged concerns about the CTP in the ACT, urging the government to address key concerns before finalising the scheme.