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Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme
Our Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme has been in place in WA since 1947 and provides cover for drivers/owners of registered motor vehicles for personal injuries they may cause to other people as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
The CTP scheme is an 'at-fault' scheme where you must assert fault against a driver of a WA registered vehicle in order to make a successful insurance claim. Vehicle passengers, pedestrians and cyclists can also claim against an at-fault driver to obtain compensation for their injuries from motor vehicle accidents.
Lynn MacLaren MLC, as the Greens WA spokesperson on health, transport and road safety, made the following submission to the Insurance Council of WA on the proposed changes, calling for a more equitable application of the scheme.
Proposed changes to the Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme
As the Greens WA spokesperson on Disability Services, I would like to make the following submission on the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme. The Greens WA believe that people with a disability must be provided with access to services that will support their choices, assist them to be as independent as possible and enable them to participate in all aspects of life.
I support the proposed expansion of the CTP scheme to provide care and support to any person catastrophically injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident irrespective of fault. Furthermore, this expansion should make the insurance scheme as fair and as equitable as possible, for both recipients and contributors.
Support Option 2
As outlined in the Green Paper, Options to add No-Fault Catastrophic Injury Cover to Western Australia’s Compulsory Third Party Insurance Scheme, Option 2 is fairer than the current system and Option 3. However, there some measures that could be added to Option 2 to make it more equitable.
I do not support Option 3 for a no-fault CTP scheme as it does not provide an equitable option for all catastrophically injured road users. Option 3 instead provides differing levels of cover depending on the determination of fault of another road user.
Motor vehicle collisions occur for various reasons, and not all catastrophically injured road users are covered in the current application of the CTP insurance scheme. I support changes to the CTP scheme to cover all such people to have equitable access to health services.
Change the definition of catastrophic injury
I am concerned that the definition of catastrophic injury may unfairly limit the application of a no-fault CTP insurance scheme, and in some cases not enable the provision of care and support to meet the needs of all catastrophically injured road users.
Catastrophic injuries are defined in the Green Papers as ‘spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, multiple amputations, severe burns or permanent traumatic blindness.’
While the intention behind changing the CTP provisions is to widen the application of the scheme, such a definition would exclude some catastrophically injured road users. For example, an injured person who sustains multiple limb fractures may remain disabled and require repeated surgeries and treatment, unable to be gainfully employed, yet not meet the current definition.
For greater equity in the application of a CTP insurance scheme, the definition of catastrophic injury should be broadened to consider the function deficit of injured road users who have been admitted to intensive care and require multiple surgeries and hospital admissions. Expanding the definition could include non-uniting fractures, ongoing chronic pain, post-traumatic stress syndrome, post intensive care syndrome, and long term urinary and bowel problems.
Support regular periodic payments
It is also important that lifetime care and support be provided to catastrophically injured road users, and that they receive regular periodic payments, which would lead to better long-term health outcomes.
Extend coverage to cyclists
The Commonwealth Government’s Productivity Commission recommended that over time, no-fault care and support should be expanded to cover catastrophic injuries caused by medical misadventure, workplace accidents, general accidents and victims of crime. I support this move, and submit that the CTP scheme be expanded now to include cyclists as significant, and vulnerable, road users.
The Commission should include coverage for cyclists who may suffer from catastrophic injuries not sustained from a motor vehicle collision. There are factors that may cause a bicycle rider to sustain such injuries, such as adverse road and traffic conditions. Cycling is increasingly encouraged as a transport mode in Western Australia, and cyclists should be covered by the CTP scheme regardless of the involvement of motor vehicles.
Spread costs more equitably
I encourage the Commission to consider ways to spread the cost more equitably. Firstly, concessions should be available for people who receive concessions in other areas of government-levied fees.
Secondly, people with multiple vehicles would be unfairly burdened if the scheme contribution is levied alongside vehicle registration. An individual with several vehicles does not represent a higher risk that an individual with only one vehicle. It is the number of vehicle drivers that corresponds to the risk involved. There should be one contribution per vehicle owner, or one contribution per licensed vehicle driver.
I trust that the government will move quickly to implement a no-fault CTP insurance scheme that is both fair and equitable, and I commend the Insurance Commission for undertaking this review.