Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 27 November 2002

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Parliamentary Record 9


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 27 November 2002 to that discussion paper. Following this consultation and after extensive consideration of all the options, government decided to implement a number of recommendations. These were made public in the form of fact sheets and can be viewed on my departments web site if anyone has not already seen them. The first stage of the implementation of these recommendations is contained in this bill. The bill provides for those measures which this government wants to have in place by March 2003. It is proposed that a further bill, comprising the balance of the reforms, will be introduced to the Assembly in February next year. I would like to draw your attention to the following key areas which the bill addresses: first, and perhaps most importantly, it puts the legislative machinery in place for the establishment of a Commercial Passenger Vehicle Board. The role of this board will be primarily advisory, but it will also have some specific powers in relation to areas such as driver standards and training. For the first time, this industry and its stakeholders will have a voice in its management and regulation. In the meantime, I have appointed an interim board from industry and the community to provide me with advice on implementation of the review. We have been fortunate to obtain the services of some very good people for this interim board which will be chaired by Ms Melanie Little. I am happy to advise that they had their first meeting on Thursday, 7 November. An important requirement included in the bill provides for an identity card to only be issued to those drivers who meet the standards and have done the required amount of training. The amount of training required will be increased from 24 hours to 78 hours and training courses will meet nationally accepted standards. Another amendment included in the bill provides for the requirement for a commercial passenger vehicle to be registered in the name of the licensee. We believe that will focus the responsibility for the vehicle and its condition on the person actually operating it. Also included is a provision which requires operators proposing to put on an additional vehicle to commit to the industry by paying in full their annual licence fee in advance. We believe that this bill, and the one to follow it, will deliver substantial improvements to the commercial passenger vehicle industry in the Northern Territory. I commend the bill to honourable members. Debate adjourned. MOTOR ACCIDENTS (COMPENSATION) AMENDMENT BILL (Serial 102) Continued from 16 October 2002. Mr MALEY (Goyder): Mr Acting Deputy Speaker, I rise to place on the record the oppositions observations and concerns about the proposed amendment. To deal with this legislation properly and to properly record some of the concerns that we have it is appropriate to speak briefly about the history of the Motor Accidents (Compensation) Act. Historically, an individual citizen had common law rights if there was a motor vehicle accident and that person could sue the person who caused the injury. If you could establish that and, of course, that person had sufficient funds, the injured person could secure some sort of compensation. Speaking very generally, later on the no-fault scheme appeared, and that is the Motor Accidents (Compensation) Act. It really took away the need to run the gauntlet of a sometimes complicated civil court action and took away the risk of suing someone and that person not having sufficient assets to pay any award of damages. The no-fault scheme has been administered by the Territory Insurance Office for some time and it involves a number of clear, pre-specified statutory awards, and it includes medical expenses, etc. In some situations, a person injured in a car accident, if he is within the scope of the Motor Accidents (Compensation) Act, receives a weekly payment which, I understand, is about $451.60 nett per week, which according to the act is 85% of the average weekly earnings of Territorians, and that calculation includes casual and part-time employees. If you compare that with what is under the Work Health Act it shows a substantially higher calculation of the average weekly earnings, which is in the order of $817. So, because of the unusual way the average weekly earnings is calculated under the Motor Accidents (Compensation) Act, it is significantly lower than the figure you use under a comparable piece of legislation dealing with injuries at work. There have been some recent amendments to the Work Health Act, which effectively provide that if you are covered by the Motor Accidents (Compensation) Act then that is the act under which you must be dealt with. Potentially, there are going to be more people who fall within the scope of the Motor Accidents (Compensation) Act in the future. However, the amendment that is to be considered by this parliament today, according to the second reading speech, is required because of a perceived ambiguity that has been created by the Tribunal comprised of a single judge sitting in the Supreme 3072