Twenty-seven years ago I survived a road crash, resulting in serious spinal injury.

On average, 92 Western Australians suffer a catastrophic injury as a result of a road crash every year. I was fortunate to be among the one in 10 with a spinal injury who walked again, but for the
majority of those who suffer this way, their lives and their families’ lives remain severely changed.

When a Western Australian is involved in a road crash and suffers a catastrophic injury, a public insurance scheme called Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP) allows those injured to receive a lumpsum payment to compensate for their injuries. Under our current scheme, if fault is not attributable to another party, no compensation for ongoing care and rehabilitation is awarded.

The provision of financial support, immediate care and better access to rehabilitation for everyone who is catastrophically injured, regardless of fault, is an important social issue for our state.

It’s an issue RAC members are also telling us they support. The RAC, on behalf of its 800,000 members, has made a submission in response to the State Government’s Green Paper on the introduction of a no-fault catastrophic injury compulsory third party insurance scheme.

Of the options presented, RAC supports Option Two, a no-fault catastrophic CTP insurance scheme for all people catastrophically injured as a result of a motor vehicle crash. We consider this the most appropriate solution to assist and support Western Australians and their families through an unimaginably difficult time.

But we have genuine concerns that the proposed additional cost of $109 per year is inflated and RAC believes the estimate requires further validation and calculation.

The costs associated with a no-fault scheme must accurately reflect the cost to cover the catastrophically injured. We believe a whole of government approach is needed to ensure the wider Western Australian community will not carry the extra financial burden unnecessarily.

RAC also considers the introduction of a no-fault CTP scheme is another opportunity for the State Government to ramp up implementation of Towards Zero, WA’s Road Safety Strategy.

And it’s a timely discussion. Last year, Western Australia recorded the worst road fatality count in four years, with 185 Western Australians dying on our roads and hundreds more seriously injured.

We remain responsible for our actions and it is up to each of us to reduce the devastating impact of fatal and serious injuries crashes in WA. As a small consolation, with a renewed commitment
to reducing the number of Western Australians killed and seriously injured on our roads, we can also reduce the escalating economic costs brought on by road trauma, including the costs of CTP premiums.

Esme Bowen

RAC President