Remember
all that fanfare about a 10% cut in Victoria’s workers’ compensation
insurance premiums in the state budget a couple of weeks back? The
contrast with the deadly quiet gazetting last week of a 3% increase in
compulsory third party premiums paid by motorists was stark indeed.

Yesterday’s
item about the apparent muzzling of the RACV over Macquarie Bank’s
Connect East tollroad bonanza was interesting, but the failure to stop
successive governments from raiding the TAC hollow logs is perhaps a
bigger indictment.

The
RACV is Australia’s biggest remaining mutual with more than $600
million in assets. It is meant to represent the interests of Victorian
motorists, but not a word has been heard as successive Victorian
governments has stolen almost $6 billion of motorists’ money out of the
lucrative compulsory monopoly since 1993.

If any government was
ripping more than $1 million a day out of its workers compensation
monopoly, you can rest assured that employers would be up in arms. This
explains why absolutely nothing has been taken out of the Victorian
WorkCover Authority in 20 years, including taxes. Any profit or
reduction in claims liabilities is passed straight through to employers
in lower premiums.

The same can’t be said of the TAC. It pays
stamp duties to the Bracks Government of $120 million a year and also
handed over a $1.2 billion capital return to the Kennett Government in
1993. Then there are the dividends and tax equivalent payments which
are budgeted to be more than $1 billion in the two years to June 30,
2006, although the government is wisely not providing any breakdown.

Why
the rest of the media and the RACV are not jumping up and done about
this is hard to understand. Victorian motorists are also budgeted to
pay $728 million in traffic fines next financial year – more per capita
than any other jurisdiction in the world.

Because Victoria has
the lowest ratio of fatalities to registered vehicles in the world, we
should at the very least have the lowest CTP premiums in Australia.
Sadly, the failure of the RACV to do its lobbying job means that
premiums will be rising from $339 a year to about $350 a year on July
1. Without the ongoing $6 billion heist, they would be about $240 a
year.