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Thursday, 7 May 1970


Mr SINCLAIR (New England) (Minister if or Shipping and Transport) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to increase various rates and amounts of workers' compensation payable to seamen under the Seamen's Compensation Act. The payment of compensation to seamen covered by the Bill is made by shipowners and not by the Commonwealth. Compensation for seamen serving in intrastate ships, to whom the Bill does not apply, is paid under State Workers' Compensation Acts. These increases are in line with the increases contained in the Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Bill already awaiting debate in this House. It is of course desirable that the rates of compensation under the two main compensation Acts administered by the Commonwealth be kept uniform and that changes be effected simultaneously.

The weekly rate of compensation for a seaman is being increased from $28.15 to $31.80 and there is provision also for increases in weekly rates from $6.80 to $7.70 for a seaman's wife and from $2.50 to $2.80 for each of a seaman's children. The increase for seamen who are minors is from $21.10 to $23.85. The basic lump sum death benefit, to which other lump sum benefits for various injuries are related, is being increased from $10,000 to $12,000, and the minimum total payment for a dependent child rises from $200 to $280. The Bill is in the interests of all classes of our merchant seamen and accordingly 1 commend it to honourable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr Charles Jones) adjourned.







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