Deadline For Victims Of Overseas Terrorism Approaching
A sad but important deadline is fast approaching for Australian victims of overseas terrorists acts. By 20 September 2015 people directly harmed in certain terrorist acts committed overseas must submit their claims for compensation to the Federal Government, or their rights to compensation will lapse.
The Federal Government provides Australian victims of overseas terrorism, and their families, financial support of up to $75,000 to assist them to get on with their lives. Applications must be received by 20 September for victims of the 9/11 attacks in the US, the 2002 Bali bombings, 2005 London bombings, 2005 Bali bombing, 2006 Egypt bombings, 2008 Mumbai attack, and 2009 Jakarta hotel bombing.
People eligible for government compensation include people who were in the place where a terrorist act occurred, the family of a person killed in a terror attack, and people injured in a terror attack.
The government has defined “in the place” of a terrorist attack as being in close proximity or witnessing the attack first hand. People who went to the place of an attack to assist others are also eligible.
There is only one payment per family of a victim up to a maximum of $75,000, and there is a formula for sharing the payment set out under legislation. Details are available on the Department of Human Services website.
Victoria Gallanders, travel law expert at Stacks Goudkamp, says if anyone thinks they might be eligible for compensation for a terrorist act overseas it would be wise to seek legal advice well before the deadline expires.
“Sadly there have been more terror attacks since those listed for compensation by the government, such as the Tunisian beach attack in June. The government should regularly update the list of terrorist acts which are compensable, so that victims and their families can get the financial, medical and psychological support that they need to move on with their lives.”
Ms Gallanders said the UK has a more complex but more generous compensation scheme, with British victims of overseas terrorism eligible for payments of up to half a million pounds.
Ms Gallanders said victims of domestic terrorism aren’t offered the same level of compensation as those attacked overseas. Compensation for victims of crime, including terrorism, within Australia is administered on a State rather than Federal level. This means victims of domestic terror attacks such as the 2014 Sydney Lindt Café siege are covered by State victims compensation laws, which are less generous.
The NSW government has asked the federal government to include domestic terror victims in the same scheme as those affected by overseas attacks.