Page 14 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 12 February 2008

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Mr Acting Speaker, the government believes these measures are proportionate and responsible. They provide for the use of infringement notices in circumstances where there are clear and objective criteria for police to make decisions on and do not expose our police to the requirement to make subjective decisions which are best left to the courts. Mr Acting Speaker, I commend the bill and regulations to the Assembly.

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

Road Transport (Third-Party Insurance) Bill 2007

Debate resumed from 22 November 2007, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (11.12): I am happy to speak on the Road Transport (Third-Party Insurance) Bill today as the government takes its first tentative steps towards reforming the regulation of compulsory third-party insurance in the ACT.

CTP insurance is heavily regulated throughout Australia. However, the insurance industry in the ACT has been bogged down by especially restrictive government intervention and has been very uncompetitive as a result. Insurance premiums in the ACT are substantially higher than in other jurisdictions, which allow greater latitude to insurers. This is a factor contributing to the fact that ACT motorists have had to pay much more for CTP insurance than do motorists in other jurisdictions. This bill seeks to emulate the regulatory framework that is present in New South Wales, which currently has six CTP insurers operating and has lower CTP premiums than the ACT.

I was fortunate to receive two briefings on this bill, in which officials in the Department of Treasury informed me that it is their long-term goal to see insurance premiums reduced to the same levels as exist in Queensland. While premiums in Queensland are not as good as in New South Wales, they are substantially better than currently exist in the ACT.

The reasons for the higher costs in the ACT are many. However, one driver of costs has been the lengthy time taken to resolve claims in the ACT and the lack of procedural vigour. I am informed by the Department of Treasury that the average settlement time for a CTP claim in the ACT is a whopping 1,161 days, or three years and 66 days.

This bill sets out procedures for the progression of CTP claims that follow the procedures in New South Wales. It is hoped that this will lead to a reduction in the time and effort to process claims and a resultant reduction in costs and premiums. In particular, the bill provides for a conference to be held between the parties to the claim, with full disclosure of all information relevant to the claim. Medical information on any injuries suffered is given to the insurer earlier than under the current system.

This means that there is less opportunity for lawyers for the parties to attempt to bluff their opponents and slow the process of resolving the claim. I am informed by

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