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Seafarers' compensation to be modernised



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if&t Bob Collins J, x ^ A U ST R ALIA, ,>"" v Minister for Shipping and Aviation Support XT-28 June 1991 28/91

SEAFARERS' COMPENSATION TO BE MODERNISED

A new seafarers' rehabilitation and compensation bill which focuses on getting injured workers back into the workforce as soon as practicable has been approved by Cabinet.

The Minister for Aviation and Shipping Support, Senator Bob Collins, said the new legislation flowed from a review by Professor Harold Luntz of the Seamen's Compensation Act 1911, which covers Australian seafarers on interstate and

overseas voyages.

The new scheme, intended to bring seafarers' compensation entitlements back into line with those of Commonwealth employees, will require shipowners to be insured to cover their compensation liabilities.

"The new scheme contrasts with the 19th-century attitudes of the current Act which provides little more than basic medical and financial support benefits," Senator Collins said.

He said, "It has been the experience with the 1988 Commonwealth employees' scheme that even with improved benefit levels, costs have fallen significantly, largely due to the success of the rehabilitation programs".

There will also be a central fund to be established and managed by the industry to cover injured seafarers unable to obtain compensation entitlements from their employers.

Senator Collins said there would be a small authority established to oversight the scheme to ensure legislative requirements were met.

"I regard this modernisation of workers compensation for seafarers as a further important element in the Government's shipping reform policies," he said. ,

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