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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 September 2010) . . Page.. 4168 ..

Let me repeat: to reduce the cost of CTP premiums, we need to do two things as a community. On the one hand, we obviously need to reduce the number of car crashes. On the other hand, since it is utopian to expect that we can abolish car crashes altogether, we need to reduce the severity of the remaining crashes. That means driving more safely. The Tuggeranong Parkway, Mr Speaker, is just that—the Tuggeranong Parkway. It is not the Tuggeranong raceway, as many road users seem to believe. As I said previously, we need to drive being aware of our surroundings on the road and with greater courtesy and certainly keep to the speed limits.

In some quarters the government has been accused of dropping the ball on the issues of premium costs and choice of insurer for motorists. Nothing could be further from the truth. Promoting competition and ensuring that premiums are kept at an affordable level are front and centre among the CTP scheme objectives proposed to be inserted in the CTP act by this bill. Yes, these are ambitious objectives; however, they are ones that the government is fully prepared to be judged by.

The government is backing up these aspirations with action. In this bill there are concrete steps of requiring the CTP regulator to publish the average risk premium for a passenger vehicle each financial year. The risk premium amount corresponds to the insurer’s best estimate of the minimum projected cost of motor accident claims for passenger vehicles. This will, for the very first time, put in the hands of motorists the information they need to judge whether the premiums insurers are quoting them represent value for money. I support this bill, and I urge other Assembly members to do likewise.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.25), in reply: I thank members for their contributions to the debate this morning. This bill seeks to make amendments to the Road Transport (Third-Party Insurance) Act 2008. The purpose of these amendments is to specifically define the functions and role of the CTP regulator more clearly. In addition, the government has taken this opportunity to make a number of routine but nevertheless essential housekeeping amendments to the act.

As I said when I introduced this bill, the 60-year-old scheme in operation prior to the new 2008 legislation no longer served ACT motorists well. This was particularly evident in respect of CTP regulation. In fact, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority, APRA, advised the ACT Treasury that it could not consider the ACT government to be the regulator of the former CTP scheme under the old legislation, except for a very limited role in relation to premium setting.

In the 2008 legislation, the government set about remedying this deficiency by establishing the CTP regulator and allocating this role to the Department of Treasury, in the person of the Under Treasurer. However, given the extent of the other changes being made to the scheme, only the bare bones of the regulatory function were established by the 2008 act. What these further amendments now seek to do is make the role and functions of the regulator explicit and to consolidate the shift towards transparency, as was provided for generally in the 2008 reforms.

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