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Assisting Victims of Overseas Terrorism Bill 2010

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Assisting Victims of Overseas Terrorism Bill 2010

General Outline

1.       The Bill proposes the establishment of a framework to facilitate financial assistance for Australians killed or injured, or their next of kin, as a result of international terrorist acts.


2.       The framework is to be administered by the Attorney-General’s Department and is to provide for eligibility criteria for claimants for financial assistance.  Financial assistance must be available to those who suffer, or have suffered, injury requiring hospitalisation as a result of an international terrorist act and to the next of kin of those whose death is caused as a result of such an act.


3.       In administering the programme, the Attorney-General must regularly consult with representatives of victims and their families, community or welfare organisations, health professionals, international humanitarian agencies and any other relevant bodies.  Individual payments are capped at $75,000, which is in line with State and Territory victims of crime regimes.


4.       The purpose of the Bill is to acknowledge the tragedy of Australians killed or injured overseas as a result of terrorism.  There is no need to extend the reach of the Act to those killed or injured as a result of domestic terrorism because State and Territory victims of crime legislation will apply.


Financial Impact


5.       This Bill proposes a maximum payment of $75,000 to be paid to Australian victims of overseas acts of terrorism.  The proposed payment would be modelled on state and territory victim of crimes schemes.  Payment would be on a sliding scale with more serious injuries receiving a higher payout.


6.       Over the past decade about 300 Australians have been killed or injured in acts of terrorism overseas.  This is an average of 30 per year.  This Bill proposes a maximum payment of $75,000 per victim.  Using the average of 30 victims per year receiving the maximum payment of $75,000, estimated costs would be $2.25 million per annum.  Administrative costs could be absorbed by the department that would administer the scheme. 


7.       The unpredictability of terrorism acts means that the cost of this scheme will not be regular.  Funding for this scheme can come out of the Contingency Reserve, which allows for provision for unexpected events and pressures that may affect the budget.



Notes on clauses

Clause 1 - Short title

This clause provides for the Bill to be cited as the Assisting Victims of Overseas Terrorism Act 2010 .

Clause 2 - Commencement

This clause provides that the Act commences on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

Clause 3 - Objects

This clause describes the objects of the Act.  The objects are to acknowledge Australians who are killed or injured overseas as a result of a terrorist act by establishing a compensatory framework for victims or their next of kin.

Clause 4 - Interpretation

The references to Minister , framework and Secretary in the bill are defined by this clause.

Clause 5 - Assisting Australian Victims of Overseas Terrorist Acts Framework

This clause formally establishes the framework.

Clause 6 - Guidelines for the framework

This clause provides for the Attorney-General to determine guidelines for the operation of the framework, which must include the eligibility requirements in respect of a claim for compensation. 

Clause 7 - Priorities for assistance

This clause provides that guidelines prepared pursuant to clause 5 must ensure that financial assistance is provided to those who suffer injuries requiring hospitalisation or to the next of kin of those killed by a terrorist act which is committed outside Australia.

Clause 8 - Consultation

This clause requires the Attorney-General to consult with listed classes of representatives, both in the course of preparing the guidelines and twice a year thereafter.

Clause 9 - Responsibility of Minister

This clause specifies that the Attorney-General has general responsibility for the operation of the plan and, in particular for the determination of the guidelines or any replacement of them that may be necessary so that the coverage of the framework remains in place once established.

Clause 10 - Secretary to have responsibility for administration of the framework

This clause provides for the responsibility of the Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department for the administration of the framework.

Clause 11 - Payment not to be recommended unless in accordance with the guidelines

The purpose of this clause is to place a ceiling of $75,000 on claims under the framework and to stipulate that the compliance with the guidelines is a precondition for any payment.

Clause 12 - Principles of administration

This clause makes the Secretary responsible for ensuring compliance with the guidelines, providing the necessary information about the framework to the public and preventing abuse of the scheme.

Clause 13 - Appropriation

This clause provides for payments under the framework to be paid out of the appropriate Parliamentary appropriation.

Clause 14 - Regulations

This clause provides for the making of regulations described elsewhere in the Act or necessary for its administration.