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‘Save CTP’ campaign underway in Queensland

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Lawyers and unions have kicked off a “Save our CTP” campaign in Queensland and are seeking support from politicians to prevent changes to the state’s compulsory third party (CTP) insurance scheme after the next election.

The campaign was formed to resist moves by Suncorp and motoring organisation RACQ to overhaul the scheme, spokesman Rene Flores says.

He says insurers want to create a scheme “that costs more and hits the hip pocket of every Queensland road user”.

Law firms Maurice Blackburn, Shine and Slater & Gordon have united with police, worker, fast food and transport unions, as well as bicycle, triathlon, motorcycle and occupational therapy groups, to resist proposals to change the state’s CTP scheme.

RACQ and Suncorp want to change the scheme from an at-fault basis to a no-fault arrangement. Most other states and territories have already introduced no-fault schemes.

“Insurers are the only winners out of no-fault schemes – they cost more but leave road users worse off, while profits for insurers increase further,” Mr Flores said.

Suncorp EM for Queensland CTP Dan Wilkinson says Suncorp has long advocated for Queensland to follow other states. He says no-fault schemes provide rehabilitation and lost income support to injured motorists while still retaining common law access for people who are severely injured.

He says 40% of Queenslanders involved in a motor vehicle accident are unable to make a CTP claim under the current system, which they fund via tax.

“It’s shocking that if you are injured in a car accident in Queensland and can’t blame another driver, you will get no support,” he said.

RACQ spokesman Paul Turner says CTP needs to protect all Queenslanders.

“If you have a heart attack while you were driving a car, crash, survive and are a paraplegic for the rest of your life, you do not get cover from our CTP,” Mr Turner said. “If a kangaroo jumps in front of your car and you crash and you are a paraplegic for the rest of your life, you do not get cover from our CTP scheme.

“That is putting a massive burden on families in Queensland.”

““What we want at the end of the day is for the most money to go to those who need it – the victims of crashes – and that is all we want.”

But Mr Flores says jurisdictions with no-fault schemes cost road users more, with NSW drivers paying $533.38 in premiums compared to $359.20 in Queensland.

“A no-fault scheme will mean all road users will pay more and insurers will have more control over compensation for injured people, without oversight from the courts,” he said.

Suncorp says lawyers have repeatedly resisted calls for increased transparency of the amount of money they take from the CTP scheme. “Lawyers can keep up to half of injured motorists’ compensation.”

The insurer says it has paid out more than $145 million in CTP claims brought by one major law firm alone in the past five years.

“The public who pay for the scheme through their premiums should know how much of this is paid to injured parties and how much is kept by the lawyers as profit,” Mr Wilkinson said.