ALA calls for inquiry into South Australia's CTP Scheme

4th May 2012

The Australian Lawyers Alliance is calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the South Australian Government’s planned CTP Scheme changes amid fears that an existing, fully-functional, fault-based scheme, currently delivering to the state’s road injured, is being sacrificed to force-fit the state into a national injury, no-fault insurance scheme, which may not deliver.

The ALA provided a 49-page submission, this week, on the proposed Compulsory Third Party Insurance Scheme 2012 Green Paper, which was released for public discussion.

ALA SA President, Anthony Kerin, said the discussion paper appeared to adopt the premise that the SA CTP scheme needed to be changed to allow greater equality of access through the use of a no-fault system, but the ALA was concerned that as many as a third of people, already receiving benefits, would be worse off under the proposed no-fault scheme.

“The reality is that strict new thresholds would be put in place that would remove the ability for personal injury victims, with up to 10% whole person impairment, to receive anything for their injuries,” Mr Kerin said.

“Examples are, an elderly woman who is incapacitated by a car accident and develops a condition where she is unable to leave the house leading to long-term health implications.
Another might be a surgeon who permanently damages his hand, but does not reach the threshold."

Mr Kerin said the ALA was also concerned that far from being a more efficient system that would reduce administrative waste, extra layers of bureaucracy would be added under a no-fault scheme that could collapse its very viability.

The federal government plans to roll out a no-fault, National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS) for the catastrophically injured by 2013 in tandem with the National Disability Insurance Scheme, as proposed by the Productivity Commission.

“A great deal of pressure appears to be being put on the states to join a ‘federation’ of no-fault accident insurance schemes that dovetail more neatly, than some existing schemes, into the much touted NDIS and NIIS package.

But it is premature to create such significant change against the backdrop of the unbudgeted shape of any NDIS and NIIS,” Mr Kerin said.

“Insufficient research and conclusions are also a problem in the SA Green Paper when greater forensic research would bring about better outcomes,” he said.

“For example, a 5% per annum rise in premiums is prophesied in the paper, but no research body is attributed to the finding and no in-depth analysis is given as to how such a figure was derived.”

Mr Kerin said options to reduce waste, also seemed to have been overlooked in the paper when streamlining of process might prove an excellent method of pruning unnecessary cost.

“Similarly, greater transparency and market competition might be gained by inviting more insurers to the discussion table.”

“If the scheme is to be reviewed, a Parliamentary Inquiry should be established to consider all matters that would arise from such changes and to ensure proper examination of the processes of bringing such changes about,” Mr Kerin said.

Tags: South Australia NIIS CTP Access to justice