All states and institutions must now follow NSW and Victoria’s lead and commit to the national redress scheme
9 March 2018
Lawyers who represent abuse survivors have today welcomed New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria’s commitment to sign on to the national redress scheme, saying the time had now come for all other states to also do the right thing by survivors in joining scheme.
Maurice Blackburn Abuse Law Principal Michelle James said states had already had more than enough time to sign up to the redress scheme, and with NSW and Victoria now signalling their commitment the other states must urgently follow suit, along with institutions.
“It has been well known for years that a national redress scheme would be an inevitable outcome of the Royal Commission, yet despite this a number of states and institutions are still yet to outline their intention to join the scheme,” Ms James said.
“That’s unacceptable for survivors - there should be no more excuses and no more delaying from states and institutions and we would urge those still to commit to follow the lead of NSW and Victoria and do so as a priority.
“This must include South Australia – for a national scheme to be truly effective it needs the buy-in of all states, and we will be writing to the party leaders in South Australia, including Labor, the Liberals and Nick Xenophon, to ask a new Government post their election on 17 March to commit to the scheme,” she said.
Ms James also urged the Federal Government to act on the concerns of survivors in finalising the design of the scheme.
“This week we have again heard concerns from survivors about the scheme’s planned $150,000 compensation cap, which falls well short of the $200,000 recommended by the Royal Commission,” Ms James said.
“The time limit to consider options for redress for survivors also needs to be reworked; currently the Federal Government is only proposing that survivors be given three months to decide whether to accept an offer of redress when the Royal Commission recommended a year.
“We would also urge the Federal Government to step up as the funder of last resort for national institutions, in the same way states will be expected to do so for state-based institutions, as this is a critical safety blanket in ensuring that survivors can access the redress they deserve.
“It’s also crucial that survivors can access appropriate advice about their rights in navigating the redress scheme, namely in ensuring they are getting access to compensation that is fair in addressing and acknowledging the harm caused,” she said.
Jade Thompson at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers on 0417 969 438