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Wednesday, 23 October 1974
Page: 1873


Senator WHEELDON (Western AustraliaMinister for Repatriation and Compensation) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to increase the rates and amounts of compensation payable under the Seamen's Compensation Act to seamen and their dependants. The Bill will ensure that the monetary rates payable under this Act are kept in line with those contained in the Compensation (Australian Government Employees) Bill. However, I should mention that the proposed amendments will not involve any cost to the Australian Government as payments under the Seamen's Compensation Act are made by the shipowners. The Bill provides for the weekly rates of compensation for total incapacity to be increased from $43 to $57 for a seaman; from $ 1 1 to $ 1 5 for the dependent wife of a seaman; and from $5 to $7 for each dependent child of a totally incapacitated seaman. The maximum weekly amount payable in respect of partial incapacity is to be increased from $43 to $57.

In addition to the increase in weekly incapacity payments, the Bill provides for the lump sum death benefit, to which the lump sum benefits for specified injuries and maximum compensation are related, to be increased from $14,500 to $20,000. The weekly payment for each dependent child of a deceased seaman will be increased from $5 to $7 and the maximum payable in respect of funeral costs will be increased from $300 to $450. These increases in benefits for our Merchant Navy personnel will be payable on and from the date on which the Bill receives the royal assent. I commend the Bill to the Senate and trust that honourable senators will give it a speedy passage.

Debate (on motion by Senator DrakeBrockman) adjourned.







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