On 21 October 2013 the Australian Government introduced the Social Securities Amendment (Supporting Australian Victims of Terrorism Overseas) Act 2012 whereby victims of acts of terrorism of prescribed terrorist acts have access to a compensation scheme.
The prescribed terrorists acts include:-
the crashing of commercial airliners into the World Trade Center in New York, into the Pentagon building in Washington DC, and near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the United States of America on 11 September 2001 (9/11, September 11);
the bombings at Paddy’s Bar on Jelan Legian, Kuta, at the Sari Club, Kuta, and in the vicinity of the US Consulate, Renon, Denpasar, in Bali, Indonesia on 12 October 2002 (the Bali Bombings);
the bus bombing at Tavistock Square and the train bombings in the Circle Line tunnel between Liverpool Street and Aldgate stations, on the Circle Line outside Edgware Road, and in a Piccadilly Line tunnel between King’s Cross and Russell Square in London, United Kingdom on 7 July 2005 (the London Bombings);
the suicide bombings in the vicinity of the Four Seasons Hotel, Jimbaran Beach, Kuta, the Kuta shopping centre, Kuta and the Raja Bar and Restaurant, Kuta, in Bali Indonesia on 1 October 2005 (the Bali Suicide Bombing);
the bombings in the vicinity of the Nelson restaurant, the Aladdin café, and the Ghazala market in Dahab, Egypt on 24 April 2006 (the Ghazala market bombing);
small arms assaults in the vicinity of Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Leopold Café, the Taj Hotel, the Oberoi – Trident Hotel, and Nariman House in Mumbai, India on 26 November 2008 – 28 November 2008, and
the suicide bombings in the vicinity of the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia on 17 July 2009 (the Indonesia Bombing).
The new scheme provides assistance for not only the primary victims but also secondary victims.
A primary victim is a person who was in the place where the terrorist act occurred; and was harmed as a direct result of the terrorist act. A secondary victim is a close family member (ie partner, child, parent, sibling, or legal guardian) of a person who was in the place where the terrorist act occurred, and the person who was in the place where the terrorist act occurred died before the end of two years after the date the terrorist act occurred.
The maximum compensation available to primary victims is $75,000.00 and the amount a victim will receive is dependant upon:-
the injuries suffered because of the terrorist act (both physical and psychological);
the duration of the injury;
the impact of the injury on the victim’s bodily and mental functions;
the impact of the injury of the victim’s life;
the likelihood of the victim suffering future loss or injury because of the terrorist act;
the circumstances in which the injury occurred; and
whether the victim was directed by an official of Australia not to go to the place where the terrorist act occurred.
For secondary victims the amount that all secondary victims who may be considered closely related to the single person who died as a result of the terrorist act is limited to $75,000.00. The amount that the victims will receive is dependant upon:-
whether the victim was dependant on the close family member;
the nature of the relationship between the victim and the close family member;
the circumstances in which the close family member died;
whether the close family member was directed by an official of Australia or a foreign country not to go to the place where the terrorist act occurred;
whether there are other persons who have made a claim for compensation as a secondary victim in relation to the close family member;
if there are such other secondary victims and the victim and each of the other secondary victims agree on the amount of the compensation that each should be paid to each;
if there are such other secondary victims and the victim and each of the other secondary victims have not agreed on the amount of the compensation that each should be paid, whether the victim has also made a claim as a secondary victim of the terrorist act in relation to another close family member.
It is important to remember that strict time limits apply to applications for compensation of terrorist acts. A primary victim has only two (2) years from the declaration of the schemes operation. As the Prime Minister announced that this legislation came into effect on 21 October 2013, primary victims only have until 21 October 2015 to make their application. Secondary victims have only have twelve months from either the date of the death of their close family member, or twelve months from 21 October 2013, ie 21 October 2014, whichever is the latter.
For more information about terrorist act compensation or for assistance in completing the necessary application form please contact Joshua Brown at our Ipswich office on (07) 3816 9555.