Today, new legislation significantly increasing the payout available to air accident victims on domestic flights passed the Parliament.
The Aviation Legislation Amendment (Liability and Insurance) Bill 2012 increases the cap on payouts from $500,000 to $725,000, ensuring that adequate compensation is available to air accident victims and their families.
This legislation will also make it easier for air accident victims to access this compensation.
While Australia has a proud aviation safety record, it is important we continue to strengthen arrangements for people flying domestically.
This important reform 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.
Importantly, the liability of the airline is strict, meaning there is no requirement for air accident victims to prove fault. Accident victims and their families will be able to obtain compensation swiftly, with minimal legal fees, irrespective of whether the airline was in any way to blame for the injuries.
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.
They also strike the right balance between the interests of airlines, passengers and insurers.