Bali survivor proud of battle win

Perth Bali bombings survivor Peter Hughes is filled with pride as he recalls the moment he won his seven-year battle for Australian victims of terrorist attacks to be compensated for their suffering.

"It was a good outcome," Mr Hughes said. "I think many hundreds of people have actually received that now."

For Mr Hughes, standing at the bomb site in Kuta last October, where Prime Minister Tony Abbott pledged up to $75,000 compensation for those affected by terrorist attacks since 9/11, was a day he says he would never forget.

"Tony said as soon as he got in to Parliament he'd do it within the first 100 days, which he did," Mr Hughes said. "His word is his word and that's all you want."

It has been 12 years since Mr Hughes was caught in the Bali attacks, which resulted in burns to 50 per cent of his body. But despite the years of hardship, Mr Hughes has rebuilt his life.

Along with managing a successful roofing business, he is closely involved with his not-for-profit organisation, the Peter Hughes Burn Foundation, which he formed to help burns victims and their families through times of trauma.

With the help of WA Government funding and charity fundraising, over the past five years the foundation has hosted retreats for burns survivors, attended by the likes of Perth burns victim Dana Vulin, celebrity chef Matt Golinski and Grazi Lisciotto, a good friend of Mr Hughes.

The next retreat starts in Perth on Friday.

"We've got about 20 burns survivors around Australia who we'll be having at the Rendezvous Hotel in Scarborough," Mr Hughes said. "We try and make them understand that just because they are burnt doesn't mean they're alone - there are other people that are like them."

Mr Hughes hoped to host another retreat in Bali this year.

"I'm going over in a couple of weeks for a wedding, but as part of that I'll hopefully meet with the governor of Bali to set up a retreat in November," he said.

Although the scars that cover parts of his body are a reminder of that fateful day back in October 2002, Mr Hughes said he no longer harboured "painful memories" of Bali and often holidayed on the Indonesian island.

One of his recent trips to Bali was captured by TV cameras as part of Channel 7's eight-part documentary series What Really Happens in Bali.

"My position with the show was to show the good side of Bali, more so than just the party side," he said. "I said that I wouldn't have anything to do with the negativity.

"I wanted to show what I did in Bali."


The West Australian

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