Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Support for Australians affected by the Bali Bombings

The Howard Government, with every Australian is shocked by the horrific events which happened in Bali late yesterday Australian time and is committed to supporting those families affected by the tragedy.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today said the Howard Government would provide a package of assistance for victims and directly affected families.

“The Howard Government will assist with reasonable costs not covered by insurance, Medicare Australia or other government programs associated with the serious injury or death of an Australian as a result of this tragic event,” Senator Patterson said.

The package of assistance, which is similar to that provided following the
London 2005 bombings includes:

  • Medical evacuation of all injured people of any nationality;
  • Reasonable travel costs for any Australians in Indonesia to return to Australia, where they have no other means to pay for their travel;
  • Medical costs including:
    • All reasonable out of pocket health care expenses for Australians (and foreign nationals evacuated to Australia whist in Australia) who were injured in the bombings;
    • reasonable costs of counselling and psychological care for the families of Australian victims; and
    • reasonable costs of counselling and psychological care for Australians who have lost non-Australian family members.
  • Funeral costs for immediate family members or next of kin, covering the funeral and any related costs within Australia where, at the time the claim is made, the costs are not being met by a third party.

“Centrelink has already deployed two specially trained Family Liaison Officers to Bali with more following shortly to be on hand to help Australians directly affected by the tragedy.

“We have also set up a 24-hour, seven-day hotline which will operate for as long as people need help. The number is 180 2299 from anywhere in Australia. This call is free from most phones. Calls from public phones and mobiles incur the costs associated with the relevant phone plan. People can also get information about what help is available from the website.

“We anticipate that yesterday’s events may result in additional need for counselling from those affected by the October 2002 Bali bombings. Those people are encouraged to seek ongoing counselling and psychological care through their Centrelink Family Liaison Officer.

“Tragically, Australians again have been killed or injured as a result of bombings in Bali. While the Howard Government can’t ease people’s suffering it will continue to support those people affected by the tragedy,” said Senator Patterson.