Page 1743 - Week 05 - Thursday, 2 April 2009

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Thursday, 2 April 2009

MR SPEAKER (Mr Rattenbury) took the chair at 10 am 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) Amendment Bill 2009

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

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Treasurer, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Services and Minister for Women) (10.01): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

In February 2008, the Legislative Assembly passed the Road Transport (Third-Party Insurance) Act 2008, which established a new compulsory third party—CTP—scheme in the ACT. This new scheme replaced the 60-year-old model of third party insurance that was in existence at the time. The new act was designed to bring about the most modern scheme of CTP insurance in Australia, with the objective of improving health outcomes for those injured as a result of motor vehicle accidents, fostering competition and reducing CTP premiums.

This bill seeks to finetune the new act and make some necessary adjustments in advance of the prospect of competition. The amendments are technical and somewhat esoteric, but necessary. Under the old scheme, CTP cover for traders’ plates and unregistered vehicle permits was provided by NRMA, simply because it was the sole insurer and, frankly, it was the easiest thing to do. The amendments in this bill will bring traders’ plates and unregistered vehicle permits broadly into alignment with other registrable vehicles in the ACT. CTP cover for traders’ plates is to be incorporated in the new competitive scheme of CTP insurance and, in the case of unregistered vehicle permits, CTP cover is to be provided by the nominal defendant under the new scheme.

In the case of unregistered vehicle permits, these provisions will relieve NRMA of the responsibility for being saddled with accepting a default insurer position, best assumed by the nominal defendant in relation to the unregistered vehicles that are the subject of these specialised permits.

In addition, the government took the opportunity to take a closer look at certain of the procedural provisions in the old scheme legislation that were carried over to the new act, to determine whether they continue to be necessary under the new scheme. As a result, there are a number of provisions to be repealed under this bill. Specifically, sections 12 to 14 of the act are considered appropriate for repeal. These sections retained the definition as the “owner” of a vehicle from the old third party insurance

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