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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 22 November 2007) . . Page.. 3689 ..

Thursday, 22 November 2007

The Assembly met at 10.30 am.

(Quorum formed.)

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Road Transport (Third-Party Insurance) Bill 2007

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (10.32): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I present the Road Transport (Third-Party Insurance) Bill 2007. Sixty years ago this month, on 14 November 1947, Herbert Johnson, minister of state for the interior in Ben Chifley’s government, signed a notice pursuant to section 2 of the Motor Traffic Ordinance 1947. That notice fixed 2 February 1948 as the date on which the ordinance was to commence and, with it, the present third-party insurance scheme for the Australian Capital Territory.

By February 1948, when the ordinance commenced, a total of 16 insurers were touting for business. So competition among insurers offering compulsory third-party insurance, or CTP as it is generally abbreviated, was very much a reality in the ACT in 1948.

Among the original insurers was NRMA Insurance Ltd, which has offered CTP insurance in the territory from then to this day. Today it is our only authorised CTP insurer. In fact, for the 27 years since 1980, NRMA Insurance has held a de facto monopoly due to the fact that the legislation governing the scheme has not changed with the times.

Australia and the Australian Capital Territory—and, indeed, the world—were very different places 60 years ago. Nevertheless, 1947 was the right time to formalise arrangements for compulsory third-party insurance because no fewer than 1,269 people were killed on Australian roads in that year. By 1965 the road toll exceeded 3,000 and in 1970 the number of road fatalities peaked at just under 3,800. The exact number was 3,798 Australia-wide.

From the early 1970s forward, governments across Australia took action to limit the road toll. Some examples are:

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