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Part 8 : Family assistance for attendance at a coronial inquest

8.8.1 Purpose

  1. The purpose of this Part is to provide assistance for Australian Defence Force members' families to attend the coronial inquest at the Coroners Court of Queensland (Numbers 3191, 3192 and 3194 of 2012) into the deaths of three Defence members, LCPL Stjepan Rick Milosevic, SPR James Thomas Martin, and PTE Robert Hugh Frederick Poate, who died on operational service on 29 August 2012 in Afghanistan.

  2. This assistance is provided on the basis that a person does not gain or lose financially when attending the coronial inquest and associated events.

8.8.2 Definitions

In this Part, decision-maker means Director General Select Strategic Issues Management.

8.8.3 Persons who this Part applies to

A decision-maker may approve assistance for persons in any of the following classes.

  1. A member of the family of an ADF member whose death is the subject of the coronial inquest.

    Example: A partner, parent (including a step-parent) or sibling of the ADF member.

  2. A person whose role it is to support a person approved under paragraph a.

8.8.4 Assistance with travel

  1. A decision-maker may approve assistance with travel costs for an approved person if it would be unreasonable for them to travel to attend the coronial inquest or a related event on a daily basis.

  2. An approved person may be provided with travel assistance up to the amount that would be payable if they were an ADF member at the rank of Colonel or lower on duty travel. This includes the following costs.

    1. Return travel door to door from the person's home to the location of the coronial inquest.

    2. Accommodation at Commonwealth expense, either booked from normal accommodation stock provided for Defence or paid for up to the amount a member would receive as travelling allowance.

    3. Assistance with the cost of meals up to the amount a member would receive as travelling allowance.

    4. Payment of reasonable travel costs between the accommodation and the venue of the coronial inquest, if it would be unreasonable for the person to walk that distance.

      Example: The person uses a walking aid and the accommodation is a 15 minute walk from the venue of the Court of Inquiry. The person is provided with cab charge vouchers.

    5. Payment for incidental expenses, at the amount a member would receive as travelling allowance. This is an amount to assist with the purchase of items such as tea, coffee and laundry.

  3. An approved person may be provided with travel assistance under paragraphs c, d. and e. if they live locally, to ensure they are assisted with the costs of daily travel to and from the inquest venue.

8.8.5 Assistance with legal representation

  1. A decision-maker may approve assistance with the costs of legal advice and representation for a person approved under paragraph 8.8.3.a in accordance with the following table.

    Assistance
    Item If the approved person... then the decision-maker may pay the reasonable costs of...
    1. chooses to be represented in the coronial inquest the approved person's legal representation.
    2. chooses not to be represented in the coronial inquest legal advice provided to the approved person.
    3. chooses to be represented in the coronial inquest but leave to appear is refused
  2. In deciding whether a cost associated with providing legal advice and representation is reasonable, the decision-maker must have regard to the following guidance.

    1. Any guidance on costs provided by the Office of Legal Services Coordination.

    2. The Commonwealth Financial Assistance Schemes Assessment of Costs, dated July 2012, published by the Attorney-General's Department.

      Example: Travel and accommodation costs for attendance at the hearing are paid for as they are slightly below the rates listed in the Assessment of Costs.

  3. Legal costs are for appearance and advice relating to the coronial inquest only. Legal costs relating to disputes between approved persons are not reimbursed under this Part.

  4. If an approved person is not granted leave to appear in the relevant inquest by the Court, then costs may only be reimbursed under this section up to the time that leave is refused.

Application to Reservists: Yes.



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Further info

Contact

Defence Family Helpline

1800 624 608

DefenceFamilyHelpline@defence.gov.au

Defence Service Centre

1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362)

YourCustomer.Service@defence.gov.au