ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: Citizens’ jury welcomed as part of third party insurance review

22 August 2017

ACTCOSS welcomes the announcement of a citizens’ jury to be convened by the ACT Government to examine ways to improve the Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme (CTP) in the ACT.

Susan Helyar, Director of the ACT Council of Social Service, said today, “ACTCOSS welcome measures to give citizens more meaningful influence in decision making in Canberra. 

“As we move towards the wider use of citizens’ juries, the Canberra Alliance for Participatory Democracy (CAPaD) and ACTCOSS recently released a draft set of principles to ensure that deliberative mechanisms are trialled in a robust, respectful and informed way. We have invited community feedback on these principles between now and the end of September.

“We hope that the jury process on CTP attends to the issues raised in the draft principles. These stress the importance of government being a good steward of the core elements of citizens’ jury processes, such as random selection, and ensuring that they are convened on issues where government genuinely seeks community views and is committed to acting on them. We also stressed the need for clear and transparent process, adequate time and investment. The government needs to keep the public informed, include the advice they gain through juries in their considerations, and respond publicly to the recommended actions.

“CTP is an important cost of living issue for many people and for ACTCOSS as it is part of the broader set of safety nets and protections that ensure that people are not left high and dry as a result of life events and unexpected changes in circumstances. There is not enough knowledge about CTP coverage in our community. 

“Currently CTP will only cover a person who suffers an injury in a car accident if someone else is found to be at fault, yet most of us would believe that the ability to attribute blame shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor in whether people are compensated after a motor vehicle accident. The ACT’s current CTP scheme leaves too many exposed to huge medical bills. We note that the government has said it remains committed to the Lifetime Care and Support scheme beyond the scope of the jury and the continued development of this scheme is also important.

“At the same time, changes to insurance have potential to impact premiums and the cost of living. Cost of living research commissioned by the ACTCOSS over the past three years has revealed a persistent and widening gap between income and living costs for individuals and households living on low incomes in the ACT. It will be valuable to have the issues and trade-offs involved in changing CTP examined at length through a deliberative process. 

“We note that the ACT Government has invited Canberra citizens to help inform the citizens’ jury and that a stakeholder reference group will also provide technical support and access to information with a timeframe over several months. We see broad community engagement, adequate time and access to full advice as key success factors in the coming citizens’ jury trial in the ACT”, Ms Helyar concluded.   

For more information or comment please contact
Susan Helyar, Director, on 0448 791 987 or 02 6202 7200.