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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 17 February 2011) . . Page.. 254 ..


scheme for both themselves and their representatives. Getting injured people back to health and full participation in the community is the government’s focus.

Let me reiterate that no injured person, other than at-fault drivers, will be denied access to the scheme. However, in the case of those injured as a result of another’s negligence, moneys otherwise lost in endlessly debating legal issues will be channelled into structured return-to-health pathways. All existing rights to reasonable medical, rehabilitation and return-to-health costs and provable economic loss, past and future, will, of course, be preserved. Injury victims will be encouraged and supported in their recovery from injury.

To assist in these objectives, there are technical provisions in this bill which provide the necessary guidance to the courts as to how they should deal with particular aspects of claims around economic loss and mandatory final offers. It has become clear from the volatile developments in costs expectations and old scheme claims that it is essential to provide greater assistance to courts in the compulsory statutory insurance environment.

Accordingly, there will be benefits for everyone under these reforms. Actuarial analysis undertaken by the CTP scheme actuary indicates that everyone will benefit by lower premiums and by greater access to return-to-health opportunities. In this way and correspondingly, obligations, costs and benefits under the scheme will finally fall into balance. Issues of injury, impairment, treatment and recovery will take advantage of the most modern mechanisms available today for the benefit of those injured as a result of crashes in motor vehicles.

Lower premiums will benefit the community. Lower premiums will also assist our businesses by reducing their overhead costs. They will also remove the existing, all-too-real incentive for businesses to set up in nearly New South Wales locations rather than the territory, because our schemes will be closely aligned. It is this government’s intention ultimately, at least in relation to statutory compensation insurance, to facilitate a seamless regional economy. The previous reforms and these amendments are not about denying an injured party the right to the best means of representation, but are designed to protect their rights as they access the scheme.

Finally, I want to say something about competition. Despite the planned effects of the 2008 scheme working well in relation to claims finalised under the CTP law, I must inform members that we face the alarming prospect that the 2008 reform might be subsumed by the flood of inflated old scheme awards for NEL and economic loss, in place of the important health outcomes intended to be effected by the 2008 reforms.

Consequently, potential new insurers decided to wait before coming into our scheme because the risks remain too volatile. Entering the ACT market requires commitment of at least $20 million in risk capital for a share of a relatively small market in an environment that provided headlines about damages of $1.3 million in a whiplash case.

However, the government remains confident that competition will happen. The changes proposed in this bill greatly strengthen that prospect. The government is confident that the 2008 reforms, coupled with this bill, will together produce the best


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