National Redress Scheme

Ministerial Statement

Yesterday, the South Australian government confirmed support for and opted into the commonwealth's National Redress Scheme for victims of institutional child sexual abuse. For survivors of institutional abuse, this is an acknowledgement of the inexcusable crimes committed against them and a demonstration of support from the Liberal government, to provide financial compensation and emotional assistance.

The commonwealth Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse recommended the establishment of a national redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in its Redress and Civil Litigation Report, released in September 2015. The Australian government is leading the development of the scheme in which states and non-government institutions are invited to participate. By opting into this scheme, the government commits government institutions and encourages private institutions to also opt in.

The scheme will be centrally administered by the federal Department of Social Services. Applicants found by DSS to be eligible for redress under the scheme will be entitled to a monetary payment of up to $150,000, counselling and psychological care consistent with minimum standards, and a direct personal response from the relevant responsible institution, consistent with minimum standards. State governments will also assume funder of last resort responsibilities, where jointly responsible institutions are unable to pay redress due to insolvency or having ceased operation, to ensure that all survivors are provided an opportunity to seek redress.

Practically, the scheme will go beyond the existing ex gratia program currently operating in South Australia, which followed the Mullighan Children in State Care inquiry and allowed for further counselling and support services. The current ex gratia program will continue to operate until the commencement of the National Redress Scheme in South Australia. The government will now pursue drafting referral legislation and work to develop the practical arrangements needed to implement the scheme in South Australia.

Finally, I urge Western Australia, as the last remaining state to opt into the scheme, to do so in the near future. May I say how proud I am to be part of a government that has finally addressed this situation for our children.