A unanimous Parliamentary report on the National Redress Scheme for survivors of child sexual abuse has recommended significant changes including advance payments for vulnerable survivors.
Deputy Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Implementation of the National Redress Committee Sharon Claydon said that the Morrison Government, having failed to deliver on so many key aspects of the National Redress Scheme to date, was well and truly on-notice.
“It’s appalling that two years after the scheme started, less than 1,500 payments have been made, despite the Royal Commission finding that 60,000 people may be eligible," Ms Claydon said.
“Most shamefully, we learnt through the inquiry that 22 people have died waiting for their claims to be processed.”
Ms Claydon said the report recommended that the Government consider advance payments for survivors who are especially vulnerable, so that they don’t miss out on redress.
“Forcing survivors to wait a day longer than they need to for redress payments just adds further injustice to the trauma they’ve already experienced,” Ms Claydon said.
“The Government should be looking at the example of other jurisdictions like Scotland, which is making advance payments available to all applicants aged 68 and over or with a terminal illness.”
Ms Claydon said the report also emphasised the need to penalise organisations that were named during the Royal Commission or have been identified in a redress application, but fail to sign-up to the scheme by the June 30 deadline.
“Almost 550 applications are on hold because 284 non-government institutions have failed to join the scheme two years on. This is absolutely unforgivable," she said.
“The Morrison Government must consider every means at its disposal to ensure these organisations sign up, including removing their charitable status and /or any other sources of public funding and concessions they receive, as well as naming and shaming recalcitrant organisations.”
The Committee also recommended that a full list of organisations that have not signed by the deadline of 30 June 2020, and those that have declined to join the scheme, be published on the National Redress Scheme website, including the written statement provided by the institution which details all financial benefits accrued by means of their charitable status and/or any other sources of public funding or concessions they received.
It would be then up to the Minister to convene a meeting of all jurisdictions to determine and advise what action would be taken.
Ms Claydon urged the Morrison Government to act on the report as a matter of utmost urgency.
“The Government has been kicking the redress can down the road for too long. This must stop now. No more excuses.
“Survivors have been waiting all their lives for redress, they shouldn’t have to wait any longer.”