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VIC Gov fails to consult on TAC law amendments.

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' at netrider.net.au started by robsalvv, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. Have you guys seen this?


    Press Releases and Announcements - 17 October 2013
    Vic Govt fails to consult over proposed new ‘inhumane’ TAC laws

    The Napthine Government wants to rush through two separate Bills which will strip away the legal rights of Victorian road trauma victims - in particular those who suffer psychological injury after a collision.
    Leading road trauma specialist John Voyage, Maurice Blackburn principal said changes to TAC laws would reduce access to justice for all road trauma victims.
    There has been no consultation with those who assist road trauma victims during the drafting of the Transport Accident Amendment Bill 2013 and the Transport Accident Amendment Further Amendment Bill 2013 which are still before State Parliament.
    "These two new Bills are the biggest assault on road trauma victims for more than 20 years. Anyone with a mental illness caused by road trauma will be denied many legal rights if they want to appeal a TAC decision, and many will be disenfranchised from receiving compensation for accident-related injury. Further, one Bill proposes many reductions of rights, and reversing of decisions of the Victorian Supreme Court. This is inhumane. Plus it is, again, an attack on the Doctrine of Separation of Powers."
    "As a community we are making significant in-roads towards recognising and getting early treatment for people with mental health problems. Road trauma can be a significant contributor to poor mental health and this move by the State Government makes no sense from an economic point of view. The TAC is running at a profit such as $973million for FY12/13* and is delivering hundreds of millions of dollars dividend to the government so the reasons for changes to the laws protecting road trauma victims are baffling and quite heartless," said Mr Voyage.
    Many of the changes are administrative making it harder to challenge TAC decisions but some of the changes relate to limiting the rights of people who have suffered a severe psychological injury when involved in a collision or seeing a serious transport accident (that usually involves a loved one). Mr Voyage said the reforms have been triggered by some prominent, but one-off cases where the TAC has not liked the outcome of a case, for example when judgements have been made awarding damages to relatives who have experienced psychological injury when a loved one dies after a transport accident.
    The proposed laws also limit the powers of the Supreme Court in TAC matters in order to make it harder for people to challenge the TAC.
    Other parts of the proposed new laws are aimed a narrowing people's entitlements and invading their privacy with the TAC now demanding that injured people give the TAC authority to access their entire medical and other private records for the purposes of proving the severity of their injuries.
    "The Government is saying that if people want to keep their lives private then they can withdraw from the scheme; but people have no choice, TAC is a compulsory government insurance scheme. And privacy is by its nature personal, it is the very reason that we all have curtains at home."
    "We urge the State Government to rethink the consequences of these new laws so that road trauma victims are no worse off," said Mr Voyage.
    * http://www.tac.vic.gov.au/about-the-tac/media-room/news-and-events/current-media-releases/tac-annual-report-tabled-in-parliament-today
  2. Why does the press release not make mention of the other changes where benefits are indeed being extended so that an unbiased opinion is not formed?

    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Sorry mate, I don't mean to make light of this - I respect what you say highly. But an unbiased press release?

    That's funny :)
  4. What are the good news increases?

    The press release points out the concerning changes, which I think people would be interested to know and weigh up. It also points out that the changes appear to have been made without consultation - for something that's a central part of Victorian fabric, that's worth noting.

    The TAC are likely to be on rider's radar soon due to an "efficiency review" which recommended that the premiums basis be revisited. Wolve has mentioned it before. If the financial crunchers at TAC have been cold enough to lobby for the changes listed in the media release, there's a good chance of NSW CTP proposed increases in our future.
  5. Given recent events in Qld, it should no longer come as a surprise the governments want to rush unpopular changes through with no consultation.

    Victoria is lucky that you have an upper house.
    • a dependent child of a person who dies as a result of an accident who was under 18 at the time of an accident, is now able to make a claim for dependency benefits at any time before turning 21 if no claim has been made on their behalf
    • definition of 'Transport costs' changed to extend reimbursement of travel costs to persons attending RTO, TAFE institutes an universities who were students before the accident and now unable to travel by their pre-accident means of transport because of injuries
    • incidents involving the opening or closing of train, tram and bus doors are now considered transport accidents
    • family counselling services are increased to $15,000 for immediate family of a person who has died or is severely injured
    • compensation for funeral costs is $14,135 indexed annually. Previously TAC paid "reasonable costs" up to $9,996 for burial/cremation & $596 for a plaque
    • period for which travel expenses may be claimed from 12 to 24 weeks
    • claimable travel and accommodation expenses for members of immediate family to visit injured person in hospital increased to $10,000
    • the cap on aids, appliances or apparatus that can be purchased under the terms of the individual funding agreement increased to $1,000

    Clause 26:

    "inserts section (2A) after section 93(2) of the Principal Act to provide that a person who is injured as a result of a transport accident may not recover damages in respect of mental injury (including nervous shock) in circumstances where the person was not directly involved in and did not witness the transport accident, and the mental injury (including nervous shock) was suffered as a result of the injury or death of another person who was directly involved in the transport accident, and the transport accident was caused by that other person committing suicide, intending to commit suicide or as result of the sole or predominant negligence of that other person."

    Claiming psychiatric injury from witnessing an accident has been a topic of contention for a long time, especially when injury was not severe. Experts disagreed on many claims, with treating practitioners and claimants' experts using the diagnoses of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression more often than defendants' experts. eg.

    Medical Journal of Australia.

    Parliaments main role is to make law. It is what they do all year round and parliament seldom seeks consultation in performing their duties.

    The technical detail of each clause of the Bill is drafted by OCPC and Private Members draft their own Bills, unless approval is given by the Premier for OCPC to draft the Bill on their behalf.

    Upon completion of the Second Reading is when you refer objections to your local member because the Bill is not first debated until it is next called for debate. This is the first opportunity Members can make speeches in support or against the Bill.

    Law-making flow chart.

    Victorian Bills for 2013

    How often did Parliament consult with the community when making any laws in 2013? Changes are always made without consultation.

    Explanatory Memorandum:

    The main purpose of this Bill is to make amendments to the Transport Accident Act 1986 (the Act) to further improve the operation of that Act.

    The Bill includes a number of amendments to maintain the integrity and improve the operational efficiency of the Victorian transport accident scheme by clarifying the intention of the Act and increasing certain benefits to persons and families of those who are injured or killed in transport accidents.
    Some of the key amendments will—
    • clarify the definition of severe long term mental or severe longterm behavioural disturbance or disorder for the purposes of the serious injury provisions in Part 6 of the Act;
    • increase the amount of family counselling available for the families of people who die or are severely injured in a transport accident;
    • provide that the TAC is only liable to pay the reasonable costs of a certificate, or a report obtained for medico-legal purposes, if it is provided jointly to the TAC and the person who is injured;
    • increase travel or accommodation expenses for members of the immediate family visiting an injured person in hospital;
    • repeal Part 2A of the Act, which dealt with the TAC's obligations in relation to the winding up the Farrow Group of Building Societies and associated entities;
    • extend reimbursement of reasonable travel costs to persons attending a Registered Training Organisation, TAFE institution or university who were studying before their transport accident and who are unable to travel by their pre-accident means of transport, because of their injuries;
    • enable introduction of guidelines regarding the use and application of the A.M.A Guides for the assessment of the degree of permanent impairment of a person injured as a result of a transport accident; and
    • introduce a more flexible approach to the payment of funeral costs under the Act.

    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. How will this overlay with the NDIS? Will that pick up the gaps?

    Still any reduction in service should be balanced by a reduction in cost of the service.