The citizens jury formed to debate changes to the ACT CTP scheme has now met twice. Its report recommends five priorities for the scheme. A majority approved the top three. They are: early access to medical and economic support, equitable cover for everybody and a value for money and efficient system.
The jury identified these five main priorities for an improved CTP scheme:
- Early access to medical treatment, economic support and rehab
- Equitable cover for everyone injured in an accident
- A value for money and efficient system
- Promote broader knowledge of the scheme and safer driver practices
- A system that strengthens integrity and reduces fraud.
Members of the jury were shocked at how long it takes for injured people to get treatment and how this adds to stress and uncertainty. They were told early access to treatment improves results and also reduces the incentive to maximise the lump sums currently payable.
The drawbacks of early access are it could reduce the accuracy of the assessment, would not allow for any possible deterioration, and could lead to over-servicing. Importantly, the principle of early access does not account for whether the injury is major or minor.
The principle of equitable cover is that everyone can claim it, whether they are at fault or not. Many people find the current system of fault-finding extended and stressful, which can add to their injuries. The jury thought there should be a difference between the cover available for minor or serious injuries.
The question of limited benefits for minor injuries was controversial. But all seriously injured people would have access to common law, including the matter of contributory negligence.
Value and efficiency
A value for money, efficient system would have more streamlined administration processes as well as more transparency on how it all works. For example, transparency in how premiums are spent, an itemised breakdown of scheme costs and measurement of treatment success rates. There would also be a dispute resolution system.
What would it cost?
Whether it costs motorists more or less for CTP under the new scheme depends on the exact scheme structure. According to modelling:
- No-fault scheme, full benefits for treatment and loss of earnings – $50-$100 more
- Same no-fault scheme with capped loss of earnings benefits – $30-$65 more
- Same no-fault scheme, with limited benefits – $20-$30 more
- Hybrid scheme, limited access to general damages – $75-$125 less
- Hybrid scheme, common law and defined benefits – $40-$70 less
- Common law for loss of earnings and serious claims only – $150-$250 less.
The final jury report now goes to a stakeholder group of legal and health professionals, government officials and disability advocates to develop possible schemes. In March 2018, jurors will spend one weekend scrutinising the schemes before choosing a new model in mid-2018.