Posted on 28. Oct, 2013 in News

Grieving families of people who die or are severely injured in transport accidents will be denied compensation under cruel changes to the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) scheme, Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Andrews, said today.

Mr Andrews said legislation introduced by the Napthine Government which is expected to be voted on this week is a savage attack on the rights of victims of road trauma.

“Denis Napthine is making changes that could hurt children, parents and spouses after they have experienced the devastating loss of a loved one in a transport accident,” he said.

“Under the changes, a family member can only claim to have suffered from the death of their closest relatives if they can prove they were unable to work for three years after the accident occurred.

“This means children, retirees, stay-at-home parents and people who can’t work due to disability will be instantly excluded from receiving compensation to help put their lives back together.”

Currently the TAC scheme allows for family members to claim compensation for mental injury or nervous shock.

A further change includes abolishing the right of family members to make a claim if the dead or injured relative attempted to, or committed, suicide.

“Last financial year the TAC recorded a profit of $973 million and the Napthine Government have taken dividends out of the TAC’s coffers each year since coming to office,” Mr Andrews said.

“This is an attempt by Denis Napthine to save money from a well performing scheme at the expense of grieving families and injured road users.”

The changes also give unprecedented and wide reaching powers to the Minster for the Transport Accident Commission to determine what kind of injuries sustained in a traffic accident are eligible for compensation.

“The current medical guidelines are approved by the Australian Medical Association and are recognised internationally for victims of road trauma,” Mr Andrews said.

“Not only does the Minister get to choose which injuries are covered for people hurt in an accident, the TAC can refuse to cover medical bills if they don’t agree with a patient’s choice of doctor.

“This is a heartless move. The Government has sought to avoid scrutiny by failing to consult with experts and people who have experienced the pain of losing a loved one or those who have been injured in an accident.”

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