Politicians welcome second panel on CTP insurance as more community consultation foreshadowed
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Politicians welcome second panel on CTP insurance as more community consultation foreshadowed

ACT politicians have tentatively welcomed a second deliberative democracy panel on compulsory third party insurance, as the territory government reveals plans for a new online community panel.

On Wednesday, it was revealed a group of local law firms including Blumers, Malliganis Edwards Johnson, Slaters, and Maurice Blackburn, are setting up their own deliberative democracy workshop because of concerns about the government's citizens' jury on the subject.

18-year-old Isabella Buckley from Griffith and 73-year-old Mark Dickerson from O'Connor brought their perspectives to the CTP citizens' jury last year.

18-year-old Isabella Buckley from Griffith and 73-year-old Mark Dickerson from O'Connor brought their perspectives to the CTP citizens' jury last year.

Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Personal injury lawyers have hit out at the jury as it barred current CTP claimants from participating. Their workshop will only include people who've made a claim through the ACT's current, at-fault, common law scheme.

The consultant running the workshop, Nicole Seils, told the Canberra Times she wanted it to be seen as "complementary" to the government's process and not as a rival citizen's jury.

In a statement, Chief Minister Andrew Barr said: "Hearing the broad range of community views and input from the legal community is an important part of independent jury process."

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Greens crossbencher Caroline Le Couteur said the second deliberative democracy seminar "surprised her", but "the more knowledge the better".

"I'm always in favour of consultation and it's a good thing from that point of view that the views of the people who've actually been affected by third party claims but I am a little concerned about this feeding into the government's process," Ms Le Couteur said.

"I certainly think the jurors have information and the government is doing what appears to be at this stage an excellent process."

The dual community consultation projects come as the ACT government looks to ramp up its own conversations with Canberra.

The government announced $630,000 in its mid-year budget update to establish an online panel to "strengthen" its community engagement.

It also unveiled a new communication strategy, where it flagged upcoming surveys on managing domestic cats, a new design for the Canberra Theatre Centre and the ACT's graduated licensing scheme.

Mr Barr said the online panel would allow everyone's views to be heard,"not just those who can attend public meetings".

"An online community panel is one important way the ACT government can engage with a sizeable representative group of Canberrans," Mr Barr said.

"We are working towards the panel starting up mid-year and we will make further announcements in due course about how Canberrans can get involved."

Other projects up for debate include a possible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement, the design of a new bus network next year and a strategy for the future of education in the ACT.

Katie Burgess

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.

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