Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 12 February 2008) . . Page.. 34 ..
as to who paid for the windscreen, whether I did or the insurance company or whether it is outstanding. It is a good illustration on such a minor matter involving a vehicle that after nearly one month that matter is to-ing and fro-ing between my office and me.
This was a stationary vehicle. Can you imagine the situation in an accident resulting in injuries? You would have to access medical practitioners, get reports and possibly X-rays and access a lawyer if it was your wish to go down that road. I also think it is kind of silly to put the view that everyone can do it on line. My mum is 82 and she drives. I wish she would not. She does not have a computer. She is not one who likes to punch in all the numbers on the phone to try and get a computer to tell her what to do. I was in the bank in Woden the other day and I saw a distressed woman who did not understand how PIN numbers work. We are assuming that everybody in our community, including older people, are whiz-kids on technology andt can go in and do battle for themselves.
The legal capping worries me as well because there are many people in our community who need legal help. I have said that I would personally support it, as it presently stands, but I do have reservations. This amendment does not say that you do not get treatment for four months. What it does mean is you do not get flicked out if you have not been able to get everything together in 28 days. Obviously, earlier treatment is probably a desirable outcome, but it is a complete misconstruction of the amendment to put the spin on it that Mr Smyth has.
I think the Chief Minister understands the sentiment involved. I am sorry he will not be supporting it. I do believe that it is a prudent measure and I am quite sure that we will be back in this place down the track with the advice and the recommendation that this amendment be made, certainly providing for something in the 60 to 120-day band. My experience with the insurance industry is that nothing happens quickly. Certainly I think that to get things moving in 28 days and to ask people to have all their paperwork together is overly ambitious and does not pay regard particularly to the less fortunate in our community.
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) (12.25): I do not wish to delay members on this. I understand the sentiment. I do not want to be misunderstood. One’s inclination is always to be sympathetic to an extension of time. We all know how laborious insurance is, and Mr Mulcahy is quite right in that respect.
But the essential point which both Mr Smyth and I have gone to is the importance of early rehabilitation. Essentially, the design of the legislation is to keep people out of the hands of lawyers, to get them into rehabilitation and to have them deal directly with their insurance company to reduce costs and to have claims settled. This provision simply gives access to the first $5,000 of a claim on receipt of some forms. Mr Smyth makes the point that they are online. They can be produced electronically. There will be no delays in relation to the production of those forms, indeed, alternatively, on the production of a police report into the accident. It simply allows the process to start.