Marginal electorate poll says ‘no’ to TAC changes

30th Oct 2013

Victorian voters are overwhelmingly rejecting planned cuts to the Transport Accident Commission scheme.

Emergency services workers and all Victorians who suffer a severe psychiatric injury as a result of a transport accident, stand to lose in the face of planned cuts, which would severely restrict or abolish common law rights.

A ReachTel poll conducted on Monday night across five marginal State electorates showed strong opposition to the proposed changes.

Under legislation before State Parliament, psychiatric injury claims would be denied in almost all cases. The Transport Accident Commission (TAC) would also have unprecedented powers to veto independent medical advice and override the decisions of GPs and courts in assessing impairment caused by accident injuries.

The poll of 2129 voters, commissioned by the Australian Lawyers Alliance, was conducted in the seats of Bentleigh, Frankston, Mordialloc, Seymour, and South Barwon.

The highest support was for emergency services workers who will be denied compensation if the bills are passed. An overwhelming 77% per cent of voters for either party supported the right of emergency services workers, ambulance officers, fire-fighters, and police officers to claim for severe psychiatric injuries as a consequence of a fatal accident. Only 12.7% of respondents did not agree with the right and 10% were undecided.

People believed that the government should consult with doctors, road trauma groups and other experts before reducing legal rights for transport accident victims (68.5%). Only 13.6% of respondents opposed and the rest undecided.

Almost 60% of respondents opposed changes to the TAC scheme which would allow the Commission to override doctors in assessing claims.

National President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance, Geraldine Collins, today urged the Napthine Government to withdraw legislation amending the Transport Accident Act.

“There has been no consultation with road trauma victims or health professionals who treat such victims and who understand the detrimental health impacts of the Government’s plans,” Ms Collins said.

“It is very clear from these results that the majority of Victorians are strongly opposed to changes which would deny compensation to vulnerable family members, emergency services workers and severely injured victims.”

“We call on the State Government to go back to the drawing board and consult with the medical and allied health professionals, specialist psychiatrists and the ALA.”

“To fail to do so will lead to many families unable to gain support anywhere for severe trauma that alters their way of life. That is unacceptable, especially in the light of the fact that TAC made profits of $973 million just last year.”

Tags: Compensation Victoria Transport accidents Transport Accident Commission