**The following is the full text of a letter to the editor of the Daily Telegraph, published on 21 February 2013.
**The NSW Government proposes harsh changes to the green slip scheme. The primary change is to strip benefits from the innocent victims of motor vehicle accidents. At present, innocent accident victims are covered for their full loss of wages and parents can be compensated for taking time off work to look after an injured child. Under these proposed changes:
- 90% of accident victims will only receive medical expenses and lost wages for a short period (probably two years) and will then be thrown out of the scheme and become reliant upon Medicare and Centrelink.
- This means that those who cannot afford expensive private income protection insurance will not be paid enough to cover their mortgage and risk losing their home.
- Parents who have to give up work to look after injured children will receive no compensation for their lost wages.
These changes are a major punishment for innocent accident victims and motorists.
First, the innocent victims are losing benefits in order that the Government can provide payments to the drivers who caused their injuries. It is simply wrong to have innocent victims of accidents at risk of losing their home in order to provide a modest benefit to the injured driver who caused the accident.
Second, there will be no real saving to motorists. The small drop in green slip prices will be offset by the need for everyone who goes out onto the road (either as passenger or driver) to consider expensive income protection insurance to cover the lost wages the Motor Accidents scheme will no longer pay if they are hurt.
Third, the proposed changes are modelled on a Victorian system that pays minimal benefits and last year recorded a deficit of $1.4 billion. This isnât much of a model.
Fourth, it must be acknowledged that NSW has more expensive premiums, but that is because we have better benefits. Unlike Queensland, we look after all the catastrophically injured. Unlike Victoria, we don't have the taxpayer underwriting the green slip scheme.
Finally, the scheme we have in NSW works. More than 50% of the premium collected goes back to the injured, whilst only about 5% goes to the lawyers who act for them to assist in recovering those benefits. The Government appears to want a scheme where the injured have to fight alone against an insurance company, without a lawyer to help them. We all know the lopsided result that will follow - cheap settlements with accident victims not getting their proper entitlements.
If the Government is serious about reducing Green Slip prices, the focus should be on the 35% of premium collection that currently goes to insurers in profits and administration costs. There is no need to slash benefits to accident victims in reforming the green slip scheme.
Phillip Boulten SC
21 February 2013