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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2023 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 9 February 2023) . . Page.. 268 ..

Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Bill 2023

Mr Steel, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (10.50): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to present today the Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Bill to strengthen and improve our Motor Accident Injuries Scheme in the ACT. The Motor Accident Injuries Act 2019 provided a comprehensive support scheme to people injured in a motor accident in the ACT. There is no need to prove fault to access defined benefits under the Motor Accident Injuries Scheme, with a pathway to common law also being available to those with more serious injuries.

The scheme provides defined benefits for treatment and care, as well as income replacement, for up to five years to anyone who is injured in a motor accident. A quality of life benefit to recognise permanent injuries is also payable to people who meet impairment thresholds. The scheme provides for some exclusions for defined benefits, including for those who engage in serious criminal behaviour or who put others at risk of harm on our roads.

The purpose of the bill is to improve the operation of the MAI Scheme through providing additional regulatory tools to the Motor Accident Injuries Commission, and to make other minor and technical amendments to the act to address matters identified during the initial operation of the scheme.

The bill introduces a financial penalties regime and direction powers so that the commission can deal with non-compliance by licensed insurers in a proactive and timely manner. Insurers will also have an obligation to report to the commission any conduct involving significant contraventions of the legislation. Similar tools are already available to regulators who license insurers in other jurisdictions, and this bill is providing the same ability to the commission.

The bill will allow the commission to impose financial penalties on licensed MAI insurers for non-compliance with their licence and other legislative obligations. It was originally intended that these penalties be introduced through the Insurance Industry Deed, but uncertainty arose as to whether this would result in the penalties being able to be enforced. The financial penalty regime is instead being implemented by amendments to the legislation.

The penalties are based on a two-tier system, with a higher penalty applying to more serious contraventions and appropriate procedural fairness being adopted for each tier. The contraventions that may attract a higher financial penalty include dishonest or misleading conduct, underpayment or delay in paying defined benefits, and not protecting information in accordance with the act’s requirements. The financial

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