Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 8 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3002 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
rather than in inverted commas. This amendment is a result of comments from the scrutiny of bills committee.
Amendment agreed to.
Clause 12, as amended, agreed to.
MS TUCKER (11.24): I seek leave to move together amendments 1 and 2 circulated in my name.
MS TUCKER: I move amendments 1 and 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 3 at page 3092].
These first two amendments ensure that personal injury claim procedures do not apply to road transport accidents. The two main areas of no-fault accident insurance are in workers compensation and motor vehicle accidents. There already are satisfactory claims procedures in place through legislation. This bill excludes workers compensation cases from these provisions but specifically includes the motor vehicle injuries, despite the fact that the existing protocol with the only third-party insurance provider, NRMA, is working well.
The issue at the heart of this debate is how much the profit lines of the insurance companies are given a priority over citizens' entitlements, even in situations where there is no evidence to support the position the insurance companies are pushing. While it's entirely understandable, it is still not good enough to change the law because other states have already done so. It may be true that third-party insurance and workers compensation are, on occasion, higher in the ACT than in New South Wales. But the point of these schemes is to look after people in our communities. Every small surrender on this path will be twice as difficult to claw back, and we need to hang on to all the fully funded, no-fault schemes that we have in place.
MS DUNDAS (11.25): Mr Speaker, I'll be happy to support these two amendments moved by Ms Tucker. I understand that they exempt third-party motor vehicle claims from the operation of this section, and I agree that the existing scheme governing injuries from motor vehicle accidents is working well enough. As I've stated already, there is no reason to make injured people jump through more legal hoops, unless a compelling reason can be shown. And there is no such reason here.
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (11.26): Mr Speaker, the government won't support these first two amendments in relation to their application to motor vehicle injuries. The position the government adopts is similar to that expressed by Ms Dundas: on advice that we've received, the statutory regulatory scheme is more effective because the firms can't opt out of the voluntary protocol. The existing protocol's not mandatory and not all ACT firms adhere to the protocol.