Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 4 Hansard (4 April) . . Page.. 1419 ..
The new scheme will establish defined benefits within the motor accident injuries scheme, which will operate in parallel to workers compensation. The objective of both the motor accident injuries and workers compensations schemes is to reduce the impact of injury and support a timely return to work or normal life for the injured person. Injured workers need to elect one scheme to receive the defined benefits, though, because they will be placed on a treatment plan to support their recovery in either scheme. Switching between schemes at different times would disrupt this plan and potentially slow down their recovery. There is strong evidence that early support with medical rehabilitation and return to work support are critical to an injured person's recovery. Delays and disruptions to the process, such as by changing schemes, can severely hamper this.
The final misconception I want to deal with very briefly is the suggestion that premiums will not reduce in the new scheme, so people will be paying the same amount.
Estimates for the new scheme indicate that Canberrans will save between around $100 and $14 on a 12-month motor accident injuries insurance policy for a passenger vehicle when compared with the current premiums. The new scheme significantly expands coverage for Canberrans, because, as I repeat, everyone—everyone—who is injured in a motor vehicle accident will now be entitled to treatment, care and income replacement benefits, not just those who can prove that someone else was at fault. To repeat it again, this means that about 600 more Canberrans each year will be covered by the scheme. All Canberrans—all Canberrans—will benefit from faster and fairer access to benefits without the need to go to court and prove that someone else was at fault, so they can start recovering from their accident sooner.
It comes as no surprise that members opposite have opposed this reform from day one. Perhaps this is because they are hopelessly compromised by having accepted the single largest donation in ACT political history from a personal injury lawyer. Or perhaps it is just that they are way off base again about what our community's real values and priorities are.
If they fail to support this bill, they will be failing hundreds of Canberrans each year who get injured on our roads and currently find that the CTP scheme does not cover them. They will be failing Canberrans who want to get help quickly and to get better after an accident without a stressful and lengthy legal fight. And they will be failing our community by refusing to listen to the clear priorities and objectives for an improved motor accident injuries insurance scheme that better protects all Canberrans on our roads.
I commend the bill to the Assembly.
That this bill be agreed to in principle.