Page 205 - Week 01 - Thursday, 13 February 2020

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Thursday, 13 February 2020

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Motor Accident Injuries Amendment Bill 2020

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

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tertiary Education, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (10.02): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The ACT’s new motor accident injury scheme commenced on 1 February. The scheme delivers a fairer, faster and more comprehensive support system, protecting Canberrans if they are injured in a motor accident.

Under the scheme, everyone injured in a motor vehicle accident will receive up to five years treatment, care and income benefits without having to go through a complex, lengthy and costly process to prove fault. Approximately 40 per cent of injured people who could not make a CTP claim under the old scheme will be covered under the new scheme. That is around 600 more Canberrans each year.

With the introduction of the new scheme, premiums are $60 less than they were a year ago and nearly $200 less than they were tracking under the old scheme.

Certain sections of the MAI Act were intended to enable the government to regulate the quantum of legal costs and fees for defined benefits and common-law matters, but, if the government did not do so, a lawyer would still be able to charge a client legal costs and fees. The explanatory statement to the MAI bill stated that these provisions are intended to ensure that legal costs and fees are appropriate within the motor accident injury scheme and will not prevent an individual from obtaining a lawyer’s services.

Subsequent to the Assembly agreeing to the MAI Act, the government decided not to regulate legal fees and costs on the scheme’s commencement. Therefore, I did not create a regulation in relation to legal fees and costs. Instead, the government has determined to monitor legal fees and costs for the first year of the scheme’s operations.

The Law Society of the ACT has expressed concerns to the government that, without a regulation in place under these sections of the MAI Act, it is not clear to the society

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