Page 445 - Week 01 - Thursday, 11 December 2008

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One feature of the new scheme is fairly tight time frames that apply to making application for compensation. An issue was raised by lawyers, a class of professionals that this government variously admires and denigrates, that if a party had to wait for more than three months for a police report, or if information in that report was not accurate, the party could be disenfranchised by this legislation.

I understand that the problem as it exists should be solved through improved police processes some time in the next few months. As it happens, however, some people are getting caught out. This bill amends the act to permit the nominal defendant to accept a claim of reasonable excuse for a delay, and a claimant can contest the issue in court where the nominal defendant turns down the claim. In brief, this provides a simple, two-tiered approach to looking at cases such as this to ensure that no claimant will be unfairly caught out by the time frame cut-offs in this legislation.

The issue was raised by Mr Stefaniak at the end of last term. He was right, but his solution was not as elegant or as inexpensive as this one.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Women) (10.26), in reply: I thank members for their contributions. I do acknowledge the short time frame to deal with this bill and I thank them for supporting it.

As other members have said, this bill puts forward a series of technical amendments. These amendments modify the time restrictions that apply to people injured in a motor accident who decide to make a compulsory third-party claim against the nominal defendant. They also align the principles around time restrictions on making CTP claims so that claims arising from insured or uninsured accidents are subject to the same condition.

The government are committed to consult and act on those consultations if evidence emerged that justified such action. Consultation did occur during the caretaker period in order to verify some of the concerns that had been put forward that it was possible that some potential nominal defendant claims might lose the opportunity to notify the nominal defendant due to factors outside their control. I understand that this proposition was established in some cases and therefore this amendment bill tries to cater for those situations. Again, this has been time critical and I acknowledge the efforts of members to deal with this bill in such a short time frame but it had to be dealt with before 1 January next year and this was the only opportunity to do it.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

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