The LNP has been challenged to declare up front any secret plans they may have to change our Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme.
Mark O’Connor of Bennett & Philp Lawyers says the LNP should say now ahead of Saturday’s election if it has any plans to change the state’s CTP scheme, after it avoided an Australian Lawyers Alliance request for a commitment not to change the scheme.
Mark, who is an Accredited Specialist in injury compensation law and a Director of Bennett & Philp Lawyers, says it’s no secret the insurance industry is pressuring governments to reduce payouts by various punitive measures.
The ALA had sought a commitment from the major parties over their intentions toward the state’s workers compensation and CTP schemes.
“Although in response to an enquiry by the Australian Lawyers Alliance, the LNP has indicated that it has no plans to change the workers compensation scheme in Queensland, it declined to give a similar commitment in regard to the CTP scheme.
“This is worrying considering the LNP’s track record for attacking the rights of injured Queenslanders, particularly during the Newman government,” Mark says.
The incoming Labor government reversed the LNP’s measures but it has meant people are nervous that their compensation rights could be jeopardised again by any undeclared agendas.
Earlier this year the insurance industry called for changes to Queensland’s Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme in moves that he said would slash benefits for injured motorists.
“The last two state government elections saw some of the biggest changes to personal injury law in Queensland. Campbell Newman’s LNP government tried to deny common law rights to the majority of injured workers in the state.
“Going against the advice of stakeholders and a government inquiry they imposed claims thresholds with legislation that effectively deprived 60% of injured workers the right to recover damages including future lost wages and medical expenses sustained as a result of their injuries,” he says.
Victims were thrown on to Federal welfare systems. The restrictions were not based on whether a person could return to work but on an arbitrary assessment of their injuries by a doctor.
The LNP’s legislation changes also allowed potential employers access to a candidates Workers’ Compensation claims history.
Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government subsequently reversed the changes to the workers’ compensation system and back-dated the changes to the date of her election. She also stopped employers conducting claims history searches on potential employees.
Mark says the LNP’s refusal to state its intentions for CTP changes should it win the 25 November election, raises fears of undisclosed secret plans.
“It comes down to trust and right now we know the insurance industry is forcefully lobbying for restrictive changes to Queensland’s Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme.
He says Queensland’s CTP scheme is the best run and best structured CTP scheme in Australia and premiums in Queensland are quite fair.
“Despite the insurers making high profits, they want to severely restrict and remove the entitlement to damages to Queenslanders injured in motor vehicle accidents" he says.
“Queensland voters have a right to know that their next government is not in the pocket of the insurance industry,”.