HON LINDA BURNEY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES
MEMBER FOR BARTON
SHARON CLAYDON MP
DEPUTY CHAIR OF THE JOINT SELECT COMMITTEE INTO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE REDRESS SCHEME
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR NEWCASTLE
Three months after the Parliament agreed to re-establish a committee to oversee the implementation of the National Redress Scheme, the Morrison Government has failed to appoint four of its six members.
When Labor put forward a motion to re-establish the committee, the Government cynically used its numbers to dump the former multipartisan approach and wrested control for itself. Now, in the final week of Parliament for 2019, it has failed to appoint four of the six committee members it demanded.
The National Redress Scheme is the outcome of the four-year long royal commission into child sexual abuse in institutions but it’s failing to deliver on multiple fronts. It was projected to provide redress to an estimated 60,000 survivors. Yet, almost 18 months after its commencement, only 469 payments have been made, and some institutions still haven’t signed up to participate.
The Committee is a critical means of providing Parliamentary oversight of the National Redress Scheme. It’s also one of the few ways survivors can share their experiences of the scheme directly with the Parliament.
Because the Government has been dragging its feet, the committee held its first meeting on the very last day of Parliament for 2019, which has all but ensured it won’t be able to get started on its important work before February 2020.
The Government’s failure to appoint members to the joint committee may be evidence of a concerning lack of interest – or, worse, an active attempt to hold off scrutiny for as long as possible.
Survivors deserve a fair, effective and timely scheme, but this will require the Government to participate fully and actively in the committee process.
The Redress Scheme is lagging. People are dying waiting for their redress payments. And key institutions are yet to sign up. Survivors deserve better from this Government.