The NSW Government announced yesterday that proposed reforms to the NSW CTP greenslip scheme will be delayed. The Government will need to re-visit the nature and the extent of the reforms in order to get them through parliament and to gain wider community acceptance for them.
In his press release, Acting Minister for Finance and Services Andrew Constance said that “the NSW Government does not have the numbers in the Legislative Council to proceed with the legislation and believes more work is necessary to discuss the reform with the community”.
The Government has been criticised for the reforms and for the speed at which they are being pushed through.
The Government is proposing to move to a no-fault scheme. Under the scheme, for most injured parties benefits are prescribed and cut off after five years. Because benefits are capped and because the scheme is not fault based, the government argues that the cost of the scheme, including benefits paid, administrative and legal costs will be reduced, resulting in lower premiums. Opponents argue that injured parties will not be adequately compensated and a mandatory cut off period is unreasonable. Opponents are also concerned that most injured parties will no longer have the benefit of legal advice and representation.
The initial consultation period was relatively short. The initial discussion paper was released on 17 February 2013, with public comment open until 5 April 2013. The Bill was introduced into the lower house approximately five weeks later on 9 May 2013.
The Government says it wants to consult further with stakeholders.
“We will take the next six weeks to communicate and further consult on stakeholder issues and at the same time work with cross bench MPs”.
“We will facilitate further discussion by holding a CTP roundtable involving relevant players including accident victims, insurers, lawyers, community and business leaders”.
“The bill will be further consulted on as part of this process and a position paper will be released prior to the roundtable”.
The CTP roundtable is expected to be held in mid July. The Government expects the bill to be discussed in the upper house in late August.