According to The Age newspaper of 27 October 2014 The Transport Accident Commission has saved $142 million after the recent amendments in the Transport Accident Amendment Act that have defined severe long-term mental illness. I have written about this previously. The new definition requires people to prove that they have had significant symptoms for at least three years after a car accident despite treatment if they are to be eligible for common-law compensation. at the time we protested vigorously stating that few people with what we regarded as severe mental illness would meet the criteria. According to the newspaper the commission has not processed any claim for severe mental injury compensation under the new criteria since it was introduced in October 2013.
A letter obtained by Fairfax Media reveals that the Transport Accident Commission lobbied the government to 2 years for the change because it believed the old threshold for mental injury compensation was not financially sustainable. The commission’s chief executive, Janet Dore, wrote to former board members last month about its progress in the final year of the six year review of its finances. She said there had been a $142 million saving to the TAC scheme-this financial year, taking its total savings to $252 million, with no “hot spots” identified by actuaries for the first time in her tenure. “The cumulative result reflects significant erosion of the metal injury threshold, which was threatening long-term financial sustainability. It required two years of work to achieve legislative change to manage this issue,” she said.
Janet Dore confirmed she had written a letter saying “the TAC has a responsibility to ensure that the scheme remained accessible and financially viable into the future….
The commission made a $499 million profit this financial year down from its $973 million profit last year. When the law was changed the Victorian State government said it was not seeking to restrict access to compensation, but to ensure that compensation claims for mental injury were made “consistently”!
The government was talking bullshit, it is obvious that this was done to save money despite the TAC making a profit last year of $500 million. Dr Nigel Strauss was quoted as saying that most seriously ill psychiatric patients would miss out on compensation under the new criteria. John Voyage, head of Maurice Blackburn’s TAC Department estimated dozens of people were no longer eligible for mental injury compensation this year.