Page 2019 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 28 June 2023

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commission’s capacity to ensure insurer compliance with obligations by imposing financial penalties where insurers contravene defined benefit applications. It applies a two-tiered system, set out in proposed section 394A, whereby minor contraventions and serious contraventions can apply to insurers, based on a prescribed definition.

It increases the privacy of insured persons by requiring their consent for providing details as insurers seek a significant occupational impact in managing claims. It establishes a new section 124A, whereby an insurer is required to develop a recovery plan for the management of an injured person’s treatment and care, in line with advice from the injured complainant’s doctor. The insurer may suspend benefits where it is found that the complainant is not following treatment to a reasonable degree.

I note that there are amendments proposed to be moved, which were circulated last Thursday. They deal with the interaction between compensation under the MAI Scheme and workers compensation so that someone does not inadvertently get two sets of benefits from an accident that is related to work. They also implement consequential amendments as a result of the passage of the Road Safety Legislation Amendment Act 2023 earlier this month, so some oversight is being addressed.

I want to thank the minister and his department for the briefings held a week or so ago on the bill and earlier this week on the proposed amendments. The Canberra Liberals will be supporting the bill, as amended by these proposed amendments.

MR BRADDOCK (Yerrabi) (11.35): The Greens will be supporting this bill. The Motor Accidents Injury Scheme, which replaced the Compulsory Third Party Insurance Scheme, has been operating for several years. As you would reasonably expect, teething issues have been identified and necessary solutions that require legislation have been introduced. I would like to thank Mr Steel and the directorate for following through with this.

The reforms are quite straightforward and mostly technical, but one that I want to briefly talk about concerns the introduction of financial penalties for insurers. This is a good thing. Our laws and regulations need to have teeth. We have all heard stories about insurers who evade claims, who demand more evidence than anyone could reasonably provide or who simply fail to pay out. The community can reasonably expect our government to encourage and enforce compliance with our legislative scheme. Having a two-tiered penalty system with reasonable pathways for appeals and mediation fosters that good behaviour.

Likewise, having a requirement to report conduct that contravenes this scheme makes
it clear where the government’s expectations lie. With only a limited number of insurers in the market, insurers need to know that the government will not bend over for them and will fight for the interests of Canberrans. I think these provisions help to achieve this.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee—Minister for Skills, Minister for Transport and City Services and Special Minister of State) (11.36), in reply: The Motor Accident Injuries Act 2019 provides a comprehensive support scheme for people injured in a motor accident in the ACT. There is no need to prove fault to access defined benefits under the scheme, with a pathway to common law also being available to those with more serious injuries.

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