Victorian Government to withdraw funds from national motor vehicle theft reduction council – disgraceful

Car Thief Breaking A Glass In Car With CrowbarThe decision by the Victorian Government to withdraw funding to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council is a disgrace. It was never my intention in this blog to raise political matters, other than my small involvement in the removal of Fire Service Levy’s across Australia, which continues until such time as Tasmania sees the light.

Having said this, the decision by the Victorian Government, under Robin Scott the Acting Minister for Police, to remove funding to the national motor vehicle theft reduction council cannot go without comment. Night after night the television news has scenes of cars been broken into. In the last month or so in our office we have had one person’s car broken into while parked in front of their home and another witness his neighbour being bashed and his car stolen right in front of his home as he left for work. Three cars in my residential street have been broken into at night, while a number of cars around our office have been broken into in broad daylight.

This whole issue is much greater than cars just being broken into. There is evidence that 4 wheel drives and earth moving equipment are being stolen and shipped to the Middle East to war zones or to war recovery zones. The number of high value cars that are never recovered is also on the increase. Here, it is my understanding that many of these are being put into shipping containers and sent overseas,  under the false label of ‘car parts’. As I say above, it is not just motor vehicles but also mobile plant and machinery, particularly earth moving equipment that is being stolen. There is also the strong possibility that the funds from these criminal activities is in part being used to fund or at least aid overseas terrorist activities. The seriousness of this whole issue cannot be overstated.

It is certainly more than just a few teenagers going for a joy ride, rather it is organised crime which appears to have extended its tentacles into some tow truck operations, panel shops and when you bring in staged traffic accidents, some dubious law firms. It is a huge issue that effects all Victorians in some way even if you are not a direct victim, it does potentially mean higher motor insurance and CTP premiums.

Let us put this into perspective. We are not talking about millions of dollars in savings. The amount of the Victorian Government’s contribution was $300,000 per year. If we say the approximate population of Victoria is 6 million, we are talking about each of us contributing 5 cents towards reducing the theft of motor vehicles. I repeat, 5 cents per person.

Rather than the funding being cut, which I might add, is matched dollar for dollar by the insurance industry, meaning the Council loses $600,000, the funding should have in fact been increased in line with the growing increase in the crime rate and community concern.

nmvtrcLogoTo learn more about what the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council does, I would refer you to the open letter from David Morgan’s, Chairman of the Council to Mr Robin Scott, acting Minister for Police – see here.

Please note that I am not involved in any way with the Council but simply and passionately feel, on what I know of the work of this Council, that the benefit to the community far outweighs the cost of the funding.

John Locke, the great 17th Century English philosopher believed that the primary role of government is to protect individual life, liberty, and property. My own view is that nothing has changed and that by failing to provide adequate police and funding to organisations such as the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, the current Victorian government is failing in its primary duty to the citizens of Victoria.

The question that keeps coming into my mind is: if taking away the funding to the Council and not supporting the genuine and reasonable requests of the police for additional staffing, funding, and further support to reduce the number of motor vehicle  and machinery thefts including car jackings, and crime in general, is not helping the citizens of Victoria, who is benefiting and who is the Government protecting by turning a blind eye and cutting this vital funding?

4 responses to “Victorian Government to withdraw funds from national motor vehicle theft reduction council – disgraceful”

  1. Rudolf Kegel says:

    I agree with the Victorian Government’s withdrawal of funds from the NMVTRC, as it appears this body has thrown the baby out with the bath water. In his letter Prof. Allan Manning says and I quote “John Locke the great 17th century English philosopher believed that the primary role of government is to protect individual life, liberty and property. I agree with emphasis on property.
    Traditionally insurance companies had to compensate the loss or damage of motor vehicles to the extent of their exposure. Since the introduction of Statutory Write Off, insurance companies tend to write a vehicle off and palm the owner off with “market value” less excess and other expenses. Market value seldom reflects the actual value of a vehicle and does not cover the cost of finding and acquiring such a vehicle if it exists. Insurance companies in turn take possession of the damaged vehicle and either utilise it for parts or sell it at auction, recovering some if not all of their cost. The person left out in the cold is the insurance client. Mr. Locke would be aghast by this practise of alienating people from their property.
    To see insurance companies heavily involved in the NMVTRC does not surprise me at all. Unfortunately, government departments devoid of subject knowledge, are only too willing to be “guided and advised” by “experts” from private industry. It seems the Victorian government has woken up to this scam. I hope the rest of them will as well as the status quo raises the question as to who is the bigger thief, people who steal cars or insurance companies.

  2. Allan says:

    I think you are mixing up two issues. Motor policies can have an agreed sum insured or you insure for Market Value. Some insurers, i think through lack of training do not fully understand that this means providing the Insured with enough money to buy the same car in the open market. Whether the car is written off or repaired the owner has to pay the excess. Under a good policy with a reputable insurer the Insured out to be in the same position they were prior to the loss.
    Further a lot of policies now replace the car in full if you purchased it new for 1 or 2 years and in the case of at least GIO for life if the original owner still owns the car.
    What I am saying is that the task force was looking to reduce the number of car thefts, looking at ways to prevent loss and catching the heads of the organised gangs that are steeling and or damaging so many cars. The Statutory Write off scheme you are critical of has stopped a lot of cars being rebirthed and did reduce auto theft.
    Victoria has a terrible theft rate for cars and for any government to walk away from a national approach to this issue which adds to the cost of your insurance not to mention increases the liklihood of your car being stolen remains to my mind a crying shame and a further indication that this current government is not prepared to address the crime issue seriously which is effecting so many of us in Victoria, me included.

  3. Rudolf Kegel says:

    Hi Allan
    I totally disagree with you on SWO. I own a vehicle which has been classified as an SWO. I have no idea why. It was supposed to have been in water but obviously not in enough to affect the vehicle in any way. I am a retired mechanic and have lived for 45 years and as many wet seasons in North Queensland. I stripped the vehicle down to it’s last component in search of the elusive irreparable damage a vehicle has to suffer to be classified as an SWO. All I could find was a seized engine. It was not seized because of the insured event but because of incompetent handling of the vehicle after the event.
    What does SWO do in relation to vehicles and machinery do which is stolen and sent abroad? Nothing. Vehicles which are damaged in crashes come to the attention of authorities at the scene of the accident. No insurance company involvement required.
    What SWO does is, is allowing insurance companies to acquire policy holders property by coercion. The power to place a vehicle on the written off register renders the vehicle worthless and policy holders have little alternative other than to accept “market value.” This is coercion.
    For insurance companies SWO is a license to print money. They sell SWO’s or funnel them into recycling operations which they use to source parts for the repair of other vehicles. The prerequisite to doing this is ownership of the vehicle. This is where it gets murky. The policy holder is left out in the cold. “Market value” seldom buys him a vehicle equal to the one he lost. In addition the cost of finding and acquiring such a vehicle is never covered by “market value.
    Have you ever looked at the make up of the MVTRC? Five of the seven board positions are held by representatives of organisations with a vested interest in SWO. What is a representative of the Motor Trades Association doing on this board? Every SWO creates a vacancy in the market that is most likely filled by a member of the Motor Trades association. The conflict couldn’t be any clearer.
    What SWO does is create an incentive for people owning a SWO with little or nothing wrong to seek alternative vehicle ID to rebirth a vehicle that should have never been taken off the road in the first place.
    What are representatives of insurance companies and the insurance council doing on this board? On the face of it you might say they foot the bill for motor vehicle theft. I say they don’t. Policy holders foot the bill. Insurance companies are a business like any other. The cost goes up, so does the price. Haven’t insurance companies proven this after recent flood and fire events in housing insurance when premiums doubled and sometimes tripled. Motor vehicle theft is cost neutral to insurance companies. Of course they like to retain as much of the premiums as they can.
    Have you noticed that there is nobody on this council to represent policy holders. Strange isn’t it.
    Have you noticed that it is nearly impossible to have a classification reviewed? The application would have to come from the notifier. To close this avenue effectively off, mis-classification has been made a punishable offence. A notifier would make himself liable to a fine if he admitted that he was wrong. This process is corrupt within itself. We live in a country where a convicted murderer can apply for a review of a sentence delivered by a highly qualified judge, but a member of the public can’t request a review of the judgement made by an insurance company suit and tie mechanic of questionable experience. I could go on all day listing the flaws of this private club, but I won’t.
    Motor vehicle theft is a serious issue, but there are other ways to deal with it than to do it at the expense of the public. Governments have the means at their fingertips to stop motor vehicle theft. Slap a mandatory 18 months sentence on motor vehicle theft irrespective of bad childhood, doubling with every subsequent event and I guarantee you in twelve months time you can do what we used to do 40 years ago. That is park your car on the street with the keys in the ignition and nobody would be game to touch it.
    Rudolf

  4. Rudolf Kegel says:

    Hi Allan
    I totally disagree with you on SWO. I own a vehicle which has been classified as an SWO. I have no idea why. It was supposed to have been in water but obviously not in enough to affect the vehicle in any way. I am a retired mechanic and have lived for 45 years and as many wet seasons in North Queensland. I stripped the vehicle down to it’s last component in search of the elusive irreparable damage a vehicle has to suffer to be classified as an SWO. All I could find was a seized engine. It was not seized because of the insured event but because of incompetent handling of the vehicle after the event.
    What does SWO do in relation to vehicles and machinery do which is stolen and sent abroad? Nothing. Vehicles which are damaged in crashes come to the attention of authorities at the scene of the accident. No insurance company involvement required.
    What SWO does is, is allowing insurance companies to acquire policy holders property by coercion. The power to place a vehicle on the written off register renders the vehicle worthless and policy holders have little alternative other than to accept “market value.” This is coercion.
    For insurance companies SWO is a license to print money. They sell SWO’s or funnel them into recycling operations which they use to source parts for the repair of other vehicles. The prerequisite to doing this is ownership of the vehicle. This is where it gets murky. The policy holder is left out in the cold. “Market value” seldom buys him a vehicle equal to the one he lost. In addition the cost of finding and acquiring such a vehicle is never covered by “market value.
    Have you ever looked at the make up of the MVTRC? Five of the seven board positions are held by representatives of organisations with a vested interest in SWO. What is a representative of the Motor Trades Association doing on this board? Every SWO creates a vacancy in the market that is most likely filled by a member of the Motor Trades association. The conflict couldn’t be any clearer.
    What SWO does is create an incentive for people owning a SWO with little or nothing wrong to seek alternative vehicle ID to rebirth a vehicle that should have never been taken off the road in the first place.
    If insurance companies want to gain any credibility on SWO, they need to 1. acquire ownership in a decent way and 2. destroy the vehicle not only on paper but physically as well by crushing it in its entirety forthwith. The hypocrisy of SWO is clearly demonstrated by the fact that all parts of an SWO with the exception of the vehicle identifier can be used in other vehicles. To exclude any parts from being reused could never work as parts have no ID.
    What are representatives of insurance companies and the insurance council doing on this board? On the face of it you might say they foot the bill for motor vehicle theft. I say they don’t. Policy holders foot the bill. Insurance companies are a business like any other. The cost goes up, so does the price. Haven’t insurance companies proven this after recent flood and fire events in housing insurance when premiums doubled and sometimes tripled. Motor vehicle theft is cost neutral to insurance companies. Of course they like to retain as much of the premiums as they can.
    Have you noticed that there is nobody on this council to represent policy holders. Strange isn’t it.
    Have you noticed that it is nearly impossible to have a classification reviewed? The application would have to come from the notifier. To close this avenue effectively off, mis-classification has been made a punishable offence. A notifier would make himself liable to a fine if he admitted that he was wrong. This process is corrupt within itself. We live in a country where a convicted murderer can apply for a review of a sentence delivered by a highly qualified judge, but a member of the public can’t request a review of the judgement made by an insurance company suit and tie mechanic of questionable experience. I could go on all day listing the flaws of this private club, but I won’t.
    Motor vehicle theft is a serious issue, but there are other ways to deal with it than to do it at the expense of the public. Governments have the means at their fingertips to stop motor vehicle theft. Slap a mandatory 18 months sentence on motor vehicle theft irrespective of bad childhood, doubling with every subsequent event and I guarantee you in twelve months time you can do what we used to do 40 years ago. That is park your car on the street with the keys in the ignition and nobody would be game to touch it.
    Rudolf

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