Jewish leaders have welcomed the federal government’s long anticipated designation of the October 7 massacre as a terrorist event under its Australian Victim of Terrorism Overseas Payment (AVTOP) program.
Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil stated on Friday last week, “The declaration of these terrorist attacks means that eligible Australians who were harmed or lost a close family member as a result of the attacks may seek a one-off payment of up to $75,000 in financial assistance.”
She noted the AVTOP scheme does not replace other forms of financial or medical assistance that may be available to Australians in the region.
Macnamara Labor MP Josh Burns stated, “I know that there is no amount of money which can match the pain felt by so many, in particular the members of our community who have lost loved ones.
“However, the formal recognition of Hamas’s attacks on October 7 means those Australians directly impacted can claim financial assistance, which I hope will help them rebuild their lives.”
Designating October 7 under AVTOP almost four months after the Hamas attacks, the government had been coming under increasing pressure to declare victims of the onslaught eligible under the scheme.
Welcoming the move, Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin told The AJN, “There was never any question about the nature of the atrocities.
“The inhuman treatment of hostages, the videos threatening their execution, were all part of Hamas’s campaign of psychological terror. The government’s public statements have freely and consistently characterised the attacks as terrorism.”
Zionist Federation of Australia CEO Alon Cassuto said, “The terrorist attacks of October 7 deeply impacted Australians in Israel, and the Australian Jewish community. We welcome the government’s declaration that Australians who were present or lost loved ones are now eligible for support.”
Describing October 7 as “a day that will live in infamy”, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein stated, “AIJAC welcomes the Australian government’s announcement.”