Civil Law Law Updates

By Alexis Currier


What will the changes to CTP mean for Canberrans?

With the changes to CTP Laws in the ACT expected to commence on 1 February 2020, it is integral that motorists understand what these new changes will mean for them if they are injured in a motor vehicle accident. Although this is not a particularly ‘sexy’ legal topic, CTP can become very important very quickly to an injured party, and consumers need to be aware of the potential effect that these changes may have.

What is CTP?

CTP refers to Compulsory Third-Party Insurance, which is attached to the registration of each vehicle. This insurance provides protection to a driver against compensation claims if they are the at fault driver. When registering your car in the ACT, consumers are able to select their CTP insurer. This amount is included in the total registration fee payable to Access Canberra.

If you are at fault in an accident and cause another driver to be injured, the CTP Insurance will cover any damages recoverable by the injured party.


So, what are the changes?

The changes to CTP Laws in the ACT have been on the cards for a number of years. The ACT Government conducted surveys, and the results were provided to a ‘citizens jury’ who were tasked with determining what the objectives of a new scheme should be and choosing a new motor accident insurance model. The bill was passed on 16 May 2019, and below are some of the key changes:

  1. An injured person will no longer be able to combine the physical and psychological injuries suffered from an accident. An injured person needs to inform the insurer what kind of injury they want assessed, and they are entitled to whole personal impairment from either the physical or psychological injury, not both (s149(5)). [1]
  2. In order for an injured person to make a claim for compensation, they must have a whole person impairment of at least 10%, be a child or have an injury with a significant occupational impact. This is likely to have an effect of barring not at fault injuries people from accessing compensation, as a 10% threshold is high (s236).[2]
  3. Insurers will be able to suspend treatment and care benefits if they determine the injured person failed to comply with a reasonable request to undergo a medical examination. It is possible that under this provision, insurers may request injured people to constantly attend medical appointments, in order to have them fail to attend and therefore suspend benefits (s121).[3]
  4. Treatment and care expenses do not include gratuitous care provided by the injured persons family members. [4]


The new scheme has caused controversy amongst the legal community, with the ACT Bar Association strongly opposing the changes. The Bar Association have raised numerous areas of concern, stating that the new scheme will unfairly target people injured in motor vehicle accidents and will result in unfair and unjust outcomes. However, the ACT Government is adamant that these changes will be beneficial, and will allow more Canberrans to claim for compensation, when they previously would not have been able to.

The ACT Law Society have issued various media releases condemning the changes, and have estimated that about 90% of injured people will have their rights to compensation removed.[5]


Are there any benefits?

One of the benefits being pushed by the ACT Government is a reduction in registration fees. However, these reductions may not be all they cracked up to be. Initial modelling projected that the changes could save driver between $91 and $171, but this has been reduced to between $14 to $99.[6]


What should I do if I am injured?

If you ever find yourself injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. There are time limits that apply to a claim for compensation, and it is important to get the ball rolling as soon as possible.

If you are looking for more information on the changes, the ACT Law Society and the ACT Bar Association have written great summaries on the issue, with the links to these articles in the footnotes.

If you have been injured prior to 1 February 2020, your claim for compensation will be made under the existing scheme. Any accidents and consequent injuries suffered from 1 February 2020 will fall under the new scheme.

Aulich Civil Law practices in personal injury and are able to assist in claims for compensation. If you find yourself injured, call us on (02) 6279 4222.

[1] ACT Bar Association, ‘ACT Legal profession strongly opposes proposed changes to CTP scheme’, ACT Bar Association (Media Release) <>.

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] ACT Law Society, ‘ACT Greens and Barr Government abandon injured Canberrans’, ACT Law Society (Media Release, 14 May 2019) <>.

[6] Elise Scott, ‘Canberra car rego is about to get cheaper thanks to a ‘no-fault’ CTP scheme’, ABC News (online, 19 May 2019) <>.