Government Delays Green Slip Changes To Consult Victims
The NSW government has been forced to consult the community before it tries to get its controversial changes to the green slip scheme through parliament.
The Opposition and cross bench MPs have said they would not pass the legislation through the upper house. Over 1000 road accident victims contacted the MPs complaining that the changes slash benefits and the rights of victims of road accidents.
The government last week said it would hold back the Bill until August so that it could hold ‘roundtable’ talks on the changes with victims, lawyers, insurers, community leaders and business leaders.
Premier Barry O’Farrell said he had heard concerns from several sectors about the changes to Compulsory Third Party and consulting the community was “the sensible thing to do”.
The president of the Injured Persons Association, Kieran Fraser, welcomed the Premier’s move and hopes to attend the talks with some of the over 1000 members who wrote to MPs concerned about the changes.
Among the points he will raise are that under the proposed ‘no fault’ system the vast majority of innocent victims will lose their right to claim damages. Instead, negligent drivers who cause accidents will be given the same rights as their victims – very limited rights.
“The government’s stated aim is to reduce green slip premiums, but under these changes no one knows how much the new ‘no fault’ scheme will cost and the government won’t release the costings on which their claim is based,” Mr Fraser said.
He said that under the proposed changes insurers have reserved the right to adjust premiums if the new scheme proves more costly than expected.
“Under the current system, CTP premiums provide compensation for future income losses to an accident victim,” Mr Fraser said.
“Removing this would force road users to buy expensive income protection insurance but who can afford that?”
Stacks Law Firm chairman Maurie Stack said the changes slash the level of benefits for loss of income available for 90 per cent of injured people and they will be cut off entirely after just five years.
“Children will receive weekly compensation, (based on their earnings in the previous year) until 5 years from date of accident. Typically they will receive nothing,” Mr Stack said.
“Under the current CTP system, injured people who can’t work, or their work capacity is reduced, get compensation to cope in future years, to feed and house their families. The proposed changes slash this benefit drastically, and cut them off entirely after five years. Where will they go, what will they do?”