Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 8 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 3190..
government's response was tabled in this way for the benefit of members in anticipation of the debate during this sitting period of the government's CTP bill. In tabling the response at this time and making a short statement, members will see that the response agrees with three of the report's recommendations, agrees in principle with five, notes four and disagrees with one recommendation.
Reform of the CTP system is a complex issue, and I thank the committee for their efforts to contribute to the policy debate around these reforms. We are, however, disappointed that the committee has recommended that the Assembly should not support the bill.
CTP premiums have risen very significantly in the last few years. We need only consider the recent increase of around $50 or 10 per cent which will come into effect on 1 September to see that. We now have 263,000 premium-paying motorists in the territory and the government's reforms aim to reduce the costs for all 263,000 of them. Getting the framework right to encourage competition amongst CTP providers is one such way to achieve this.
I am sure members would agree—and there are hundreds of years of economic theory and economic practice that support the fact—that introducing competition into a marketplace will put downward pressure on prices and will facilitate the creation of better products. Without efforts to encourage competition, our scheme will continue to be unfair and unsustainable. We will continue to see significant premium increases like the most recent one.
This reform is also aimed at providing a system that focuses on return to health for that very small number unfortunate to be in some way involved in a motor vehicle accident. The government remains committed to this reform, a reform that has very wide benefits.
For all the claims and counterclaims of those who have made submissions to the PAC inquiry, the numbers speak for themselves. Something is deeply wrong with our CTP system when Canberrans are practically guaranteed nationally high CTP premiums. Further reform of the CTP arrangements in the territory is necessary in the interests of scheme members—that is, the Canberra community—as well as future claimants. That is why the government cannot agree with the committee's recommendation that the bill should not be supported at this time.
I will now briefly address some of the specifics of the debate around this bill. Firstly, there is the question of access to compensation. Concerns were raised that individuals will not be able to access compensation under the legislation. This is simply not the case. Every person negligently injured in a motor crash in the ACT will remain entitled to and be able to access compensation. Further, the bill facilitates access to the medical attention that accident victims require and deserve. And, of course, it provides a direct pathway to judicial review in connection with impairment assessment disputes, preserving a right to contest access to non-economic loss and obtain a court decision with respect to it.