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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 27 February 2014) . . Page.. 266 ..

This scheme will reduce the stress of litigation on those who are catastrophically injured. As a no-fault scheme, it will be the first time the government has been able to offer equal access to a scheme that provides those catastrophically injured in a motor accident on ACT roads with the certainty that their treatment and care needs will be met. Specifically, under part 6 of the bill, this scheme will ensure that participants are able to receive their reasonable and necessary treatment and care needs for the whole of their life. Under this bill, a person catastrophically injured in a motor accident will have the benefit of targeted and specialised treatment, regardless of fault.

This bill will bring the ACT into line with other jurisdictions by offering a modern approach to the fundamental needs of those catastrophically injured, as has been in place in New South Wales and in Victoria for more than seven years.

By contrast, under the existing CTP environment, where the lump sum award or settlement is made in a CTP claim, there is no certainty that the lump sum will last the rest of a catastrophically injured person’s life or that they do in fact receive the treatment and care that they need. The focus of the new scheme is to provide participants with certainty over their treatment and care that will give them, and their families, the opportunity to participate in society as far as possible.

The lifetime care and support scheme to be established under the bill will apply to all catastrophic motor accident injuries that occur in the ACT from 1 July 2014 and involve at least one registrable motor vehicle. As such, it will cover pedestrians, cyclists, motorbikes and motor vehicles so long as there is at least one registrable vehicle involved in the accident. The categories of catastrophic injuries that the scheme will apply to are spinal cord injuries, moderate to severe brain injury, amputations, severe burns or permanent blindness.

Based on actuarial estimates to date, it is expected that there will be between three and six participants entering the scheme per year. However, this will fluctuate from year to year given our small population and the small numbers involved. Based on the average number of participants, this would equate to an estimated annual premium of $34. The premium is defined as the lifetime care and support scheme levy under the bill and will be set by the ACT lifetime care and support commissioner. The levy will be paid by motorists on motor vehicle registrations and will apply to periods of registration that commence on 1 July 2014.

This scheme will provide the same entitlements that are offered in New South Wales. This means that from 1 July 2014 persons who suffer a catastrophic motor accident injury in the ACT will be offered the same treatment and care as they would have had the accident occurred just across the border in New South Wales.

I commend this important bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

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