The Aviation Legislation Amendment (Liability and Insurance) Bill 2012 increases the cap on payouts from AUD500,000 to AUD725,000.
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, said yesterday that while Australia had a proud aviation safety record, “it is important we continue to strengthen protections for people flying domestically”.
“The increase in the cap is the right thing to do to ensure that victims of air accidents and their families are adequately compensated. It brings the cap, which has not been adjusted since 1994, into the 21st century to reflect current costs, rather than those of nearly two decades ago.
“The level of mandatory insurance for airlines is also being increased by the same amount to ensure that adequate funds are available for proper compensation of air accident victims and their families.
“Together, these important reforms will ensure that airlines move quickly to a fair settlement with victims and their families in the event of an air accident.
“The changes to the compensation laws will move Australia closer into line with international practices established under the Montreal Convention and implemented by over 100 countries around the world.”
The Bill continues this Government’s comprehensive overhaul of consumer protection arrangements for airline passengers announced in Australia’s first Aviation White Paper.
The White Paper, released in 2009, stated: “As part of the reforms, the Government will increase the cap on passenger compensation for domestic travel to $725,000. This increase, which follows almost 15 years without any updates to reflect changes in the cost of living, represents long overdue enhancement of consumer protection.
“The Government will also develop a scheme to make insurance for third party surface damage compulsory. The Government firmly believes that the aeroplanes that fly in Australian skies must have insurance for the damage they could cause to innocent parties on the ground. The Government will consult further with industry to fine-tune the details of the scheme, including the categorisation of aircraft operations covered, levels of insurance that will be required, enforcement mechanisms and penalty provisions.”
Edited by : Peter Needham