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Wednesday, 11 November 1964

Senator PALTRIDGE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - I move -

That the Bill be now read a second lime.

We have before us a Bill to amend the Seamen's Compensation Act to provide for increases in rates of compensation for seamen for injuries and illnesses arising out of their employment. The increases are similar to those proposed for Commonwealth employees under the Commonwealth Employees' Compensation Act, as it is customary to maintain, as far as possible, uniformity in the monetary benefits payable under the two Acts.

The main basic increase under the Bill is an increase from £3,000 to £4,300 in the maximum amount of compensation payable in respect of any injury or injuries caused by any one accident, except where injury results in death or total and permanent incapacity. It is proposed to increase proportionately the amounts payable for the various injuries specified in the Third Schedule to the Act together with appropriate increases in the various weekly rates payable during incapacity in respect of a seaman and his dependants. The limit of £350 now placed on the amount an employer may be required to- pay for medical treatment and ambulance services in respect of an injury to a seaman, is to be increased to £500 except where, in special circumstances, the Minister for Shipping and Transport considers the payment of a larger sum to be warranted. I believe this to be a very desirable Bill and that it merits, and will receive, the full approval of the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator McKenna) adjourned.

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