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Compensation for Kimberley ultramarathon victims

The state government will pay two victims of the Kimberley Ultramarathon fire $450,000 each but has continued to deny any responsibility for the tragedy.

Tourism Minister Kim Hames on Tuesday announced the "act of grace payment" in recognition of the women's "devastating injuries" but acknowledged it was "significantly" less than the amount sought by the victims.

Kate Sanderson, 36, who is from Melbourne, and Turia Pitt, 25, from New South Wales, suffered burns to 60 per cent of their bodies when a fire whipped through the Tier George five hours into the 100-kilometre event on September 2 last year.

A damning parliamentary committee found RacingThePlanet did not take all reasonable steps to identify risks prior to the race, reduce those risks or maintain the safety of competitors despite knowing a bushfire was burning nearby.

The inquiry also condemned Tourism WA for sponsoring the event without requesting or properly assessing the event's risk management plan or confirming insurance policies were adequate.

It is unlikely the women will be able to sue the organisers because they are based overseas.


Mr Hames said the state solicitor's office had not supported an ex-gratia payment but the government had decided to make an "act of grace" payment in recognition of the unlikelihood of justice through the court system.

The money would help to alleviate the financial stress of their multiple surgeries and medical needs .

Mr Hames said no one could understand the pain and suffering the women had experienced and would continue to endure for the rest of their lives.

However, he said the payment in no way reflected the government's acceptance of responsibility for the tragedy.

While the government was "sympathetic" to other athletes who suffered injuries, their circumstances were not extraordinary enough to warrant an act of grace payment.