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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 September 2010) . . Page.. 4165 ..


We need to change the perception and the reality from accidents to crashes or some more serious description of what has happened and ultimately lead to a change in behaviour. If people are really concerned about this and want to speak to somebody who has a very strong opinion on this, Don Aitkin, as the head of the trust, has for years asked public figures not to use the word “accident”. They are not accidents. They are bought about by the behaviour of human beings and it is the behaviour that we need to change.

I had an undertaking from the officials that in one of the SLAB bills they would change the word so that it is either “motor accident”, “motor vehicle accident” or hopefully, more likely, come up with a better word—for instance, “motor vehicle crash”. There are implications for legislation. There are implications for ongoing court cases. Of course, there are inter-jurisdictional concerns. But it is something the ACT could take up and I look forward to that happening.

Mr Speaker, the last matter of concern is the phrase “average risk premium amount” in section 46A. It seems strange to use “premium” and “amount” together. These two words describe the same thing—a financial outcome of some sort. I would suggest that “amount” appears to be superfluous. We seem on many occasions to add an extra word thinking that it adds clarity when in fact in many cases it is simply duplication.

As always, I asked what consultation had been undertaken. I was told that the Law Society had been written to. In pondering this notion of consultation—given that these changes will have some effect on the insurance companies that collect premiums, which will then provide the detail to the government and the government will then anonymously, with the personal details taken out, publish this average risk premium amount—I thought it would have been a better thing had the government spoken to the insurance companies in particular.

At the time we had the briefing they had not had a response from the Law Society. I would be interested if the minister could clarify whether or not a response has since come. Again, we have got a government that speaks long and hard about consultation but on this case, on what is an important issue, yet again we did not seem to have as much consultation as would have been appropriate in this case.

That said, Mr Speaker, the opposition will be supporting this bill. Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and when we will actually have another provider of third-party insurance in the ACT. Perhaps the minister could also enlighten us as to the process of how many of these insurance firms are knocking at the door bursting to get into the ACT market so that we can have a bit of choice in the ACT and whether or not the reforms have actually achieved what they set out to do.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (10.15): The Greens will be supporting the Road Transport (Third-Party Insurance) (Governance) Amendment Bill. The bill is a reasonable and sensible step forward for the compulsory third-party insurance framework in the ACT. The Greens agree that establishing a compulsory third-party regulator as a territory authority is a good idea and creates a sound means of regulating the CTP insurance market.


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