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Wednesday, 25 November 1959

Mr WARD (East Sydney) (1:10 AM) .I support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Hindmarsh. The Minister for Labour and National Service, when replying to the second-reading debate, made a statement to the effect that the Government had given loving care to the act. I am not sure what he meant by that, but I should imagine that he was trying to convey that the Government was very sympathetic to the people who were likely to be beneficiaries under the act.

Why should there be any limitation? The Minister admitted that there is some weakness in the provision, because he talked about the limit in respect of medical expenses being extended now from £200 to £350. Then he said that the commissioner had a discretion to grant more than £350 in special circumstances. What are the special circumstances that the commissioner would recognize as warranting a payment of more than £350? Surely We are entitled to know that. In my opinion, what the honorable member for Hindmarsh is proposing on behalf of the Opposition is reasonable. If a worker suffers injury, he is, in my opinion, entitled to be recompensed for any expenditure incurred in the treatment of the injury. Is the allowance to be cut off at £350 at a time when he still requires medical attention? What are the special circumstances that the commissioner is obliged to take into account? The Opposition feels that it is not sufficient to leave an injured worker at the mercy of the commissioner. We think that he should be protected by the act. I think the amendment is reasonable and that it should be accepted by the Government, in view of the Minister's speech in the second-reading debate.

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