Today’s announcement that the Liberal Government is finally committed to a national approach to redress for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse is too little, too late.
The Royal Commission recommended that, if a National Redress Scheme was to commence operation by 2017, the Australian Government should determine and announce its support by the end of 2015.
After months of unnecessary delay, the Government still can’t say how exactly they intend to develop a national approach to redress, or give any indication on how long this process will take. This simply isn’t good enough.
The Government must immediately make clear when a national scheme will start, and what the Commonwealth’s financial contribution will be. It is important that this happen quickly so that the Royal Commission has sufficient time to examine and report on the scheme's initial stages.
In October last year Labor announced that a Shorten Government would invest $33 million to implement a National Redress Scheme. This includes an initial $20 million contribution to establish the National Redress Agency, as well as a National Redress Advisory Council to work with all governments and institutions on the development and operation of the scheme.
Labor believes that all institutions must accept the legal, financial and moral responsibility for failing to protect children in their care.
But our society also has a collective responsibility to provide redress to those for whom other avenues of justice are not available.
Labor established the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2013 to give the thousands of people affected by these crimes an opportunity to finally be heard. We always knew this would only be the start of the healing process. A National Redress Scheme is the next important step. The Government needs to stop dragging its feet.
For more information on Labor’s plan for a National Redress Scheme, visit www.alp.org.au/nationalredressscheme
FRIDAY, 29 JANUARY 2016