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Queenslanders to be covered for lifetime injuries

Every week about three Queenslanders suffer catastrophic, life-changing injuries in a road crash. Yet Queensland is the only jurisdiction without a lifetime care and support scheme to come in by 1 July 2016.

Nearly half of 140 Qld drivers who are catastrophically injured each year are not guaranteed any lifetime support. This is because the Qld CTP system is an “at-fault” scheme. It means nothing is payable when the accident is nobody’s fault.

When it is nobody’s fault, injured people must rely on their own resources, taxpayer-funded health services, family and friends for lifetime care. A seriously injured person may be eligible for compensation under the CTP scheme. But they must make their own care arrangements and manage their lump sum to make it stretch for a lifetime.

What is the NIIS Bill?

A Bill to bring in a lifetime care and support scheme, called National Injury Insurance Scheme (NIIS), is progressing through Parliament. The NIIS will be a no-fault scheme.

NIIS would cover these types of expenses: medical, dental, pharmaceutical, rehabilitation, ambulance, care, prostheses, and education and training. Types of catastrophic injuries include paraplegia and quadriplegia, limb amputations, severe burns or permanent blindness.

The NIIS would add $32 a year or 60 cents a week to the total cost of CTP insurance from July 2016. Motorists in Qld may object to having to pay more for their CTP insurance but this figure is lower than first thought. Treasurer Curtis Pitt says this is the most affordable lifetime support scheme introduced nationally.

Still a fault-based scheme

For people who are not catastrophically injured, the CTP scheme in Qld will continue to apply and is still fault-based. If there is nobody at fault, no compensation payable under the CTP scheme.

Drivers in NSW already pay more than any other state or territory for CTP and the lifetime support scheme. There is currently a push to reform the at-fault common law CTP scheme so it is less expensive and more effective.

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