Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 4280 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
assistance that would otherwise be awarded, no financial assistance is payable under this Act.".
This recommendation picks up the recommendation of the standing committee on the exhaustion of workers compensation remedies before criminal injuries payments are accessed by a claimant.
Amendment agreed to.
MS TUCKER (3.18 am): I seek leave to move amendment No. 7 circulated in my name.
MS TUCKER: I move:
Page 10, line 31, proposed new section 13, omit the section, substitute the following section:
" '13 Maximum award-primary victims and responsible persons
'(1) The maximum financial assistance that may be awarded under this Division to the primary victim for a criminal injury is $50,000.
'(2) The maximum financial assistance that may be awarded under this Division to any person responsible for the maintenance of a primary victim is $30,000.".
The purpose of this amendment is to take up the aggregate function of the proposed section. As we have already said, the problem with the aggregate award is that individual cases vary to an extraordinary degree. We are talking about exceptional circumstances where the impost on the victim and responsible persons is enormous. I remind the house that these awards are offset against social security, Medicare and insurance entitlements. It is not as if victims and responsible persons will be double dipping or overwhelmed with assistance. Even a maximum payment will get nowhere near the real cost such a payment implies, nor would it come close to offering a fair compensation for pain and suffering in many cases.
May I also remind the Assembly that this legislation makes no allowance for secondary victims. We have tightened eligibility and total payouts considerably and unfairly already. The research material with which, through the genesis of this Bill, we have all become familiar continually refers to the widely varying circumstances of such an event. What do we say to the parents of one young man, who has already been mentioned, criminally injured in town one night and now a quadriplegic? His life and his parents' lives have been destroyed. His parents are victims of that crime, without a doubt. Under this legislation they are responsible persons, of course, and I am sure they will remain so.
The financial assistance under this amendment is still small, but it may make a small difference. I am moving this amendment in recognition of the range of circumstances and to offer a little more support for people whose lives have been so destroyed through injuries to themselves and their perpetual dependants.