Chance for Qld to deliver best injury insurance scheme for road users
19th Apr 2016
The Queensland Parliament has an important opportunity this week to legislate to deliver Australia’s best injury insurance scheme for people catastrophically injured in motor vehicle accidents, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) said today.
ALA Queensland Director Rod Hodgson said with the State Government endorsing a hybrid model as the best option for the National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS), it was time for all sides of Parliament to lend their support to this important policy reform.
“For a modest cost, the NIIS will help to cover a critical gap in coverage that exists currently for people who are catastrophically injured in a motor vehicle accident where there is no fault established, as this cohort of people currently are not covered by the State’s CTP scheme. Around 60 cents per week is a modest price to pay for coverage for the most seriously injured motorists,” Mr Hodgson said.
“It is a very important policy reform that will benefit all road users, and deserves to be supported by all sides of the Queensland Parliament, noting it was the former LNP Government who signed Queensland up to the NIIS.
“Furthermore, the State Government have put forward a model to deliver this that will not only provide this coverage; it will also protect all existing rights for those who are catastrophically injured where there is fault established.
“That means that those people will continue to have the ability to pursue their common law right to seek full compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer, as they do now, should these people choose to exercise that option once the NIIS is implemented.
“That design component of the model is very important – we must have a scheme to cover people who currently have no form of coverage if injured, but it’s important that such a scheme does not cut existing rights for those people injured in accidents where there is fault.
“The proposed model put forward by Government gets this balance right – it levels up coverage for those who currently have no cover, and protects rights for those that do.
“The Queensland electorate rejected the Newman Government’s removal of rights to sue for workplace injuries and it is important that all sides of politics acknowledge the public’s desire to preserve those rights here, for motor accident victims.
“The experience of other states shows that this is the fairest but also most economically sound model to address this gap in coverage for those catastrophically injured, and the State Government is to be commended for backing such a model.
“It is important to note that the main opponents of this model – insurers – have a financial motivation for doing so, and that is that they do not want to be responsible for compensating people catastrophically injured where fault can be established.
“In light of the Government’s announcement today, we call on these groups to now also support a model that preserves the rights of those injured in instances where fault can be established to have choice, dignity and self-determination for their care needs.
“The model announced today further enhances the CTP scheme in Queensland as a fair and well-balanced scheme. It is a successful scheme, and this initiative improves it.
“We urge all sides of Parliament to take this opportunity to commit to supporting the implementation of the best and fairest model for all Queenslanders catastrophically injured in motor vehicle accidents,” he said.