No-fault insurance schemes will lead to an unsafe Australia - ALA

30th Oct 2012

"No-fault schemes contribute to death and injury in New Zealand as the removal of liability reduces incentive to optimise safety standards and to act with care towards fellow community members,” Australian Lawyers Alliance National President, Tony Kerin said today.

Mr Kerin was referring to Auckland University research, out today, that shows New Zealand has double Australia’s incidence of workplace death and injury and four times that of the United Kingdom.

The study, by the University’s Commercial Law department, attributes the disparity largely to the operation of New Zealand’s national no-fault accident insurance scheme that prevents organisations being sued for damages.

“What this does is take away the necessary incentive to keep safety standards at an optimum level or risk being held financially accountable for any harm that your action, or lack of action as an employer, road user or supplier of goods and services, manifests in others,” Mr Kerin said.

“The Australian Government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an impressive initiative that is supported by all. Its accompanying National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS), borrows heavily from concepts contained within the New Zealand no-fault scheme that will very likely lead to the death and injury of more Australians if its planned implementation removes long-standing, protective, common law rights.

"This is a real warning for governments around Australia, particularly the Commonwealth with respect of the NIIS and South Australia with its proposed motor vehicle changes. No-fault schemes make for an unsafe world, quite apart from their lack of financial viability.”

Mr Kerin said Australians needed to remain vigilant to the way politicians packaged and framed laws to win support and then often pushed legislation through parliament with undue haste.

The South Australian Government also needs to be very wary of producing another scheme which creates a less safe environment on the roads such as it has with its disastrous WorkCover scheme.

"Governments need to note the inequity and financial folly of imposing a no-fault compensation scheme on its citizens. Common law rights need to be preserved for the safety of all,” Mr Kerin said.

“Tonight, Foreign Correspondent will have an in depth piece on the New Zealand Scheme, and the fact that NZ laws may be contributing to workplace accidents. We recommend all Australians watch it,” he said.

For further program details, follow this link.

For details on the Auckland University research, go to this page.

Tags: Compensation NDIS NIIS