The Greens are calling on the Government to urgently address the growing concern amongst survivors, advocates and the community that institutions named in the Royal Commission have not yet “opted in” to the redress scheme which is holding up assessment of claims and highly likely to be putting survivors off submitting a claim.
“Any institution that was named during the Royal Commission should have well and truly signed up by now", Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“Survivors should not have to be waiting to put in a claim because an institution has not signed up or have their claim held up.
“As of February 1, there had been 2728 application made for redress and only 51 payments made. During the Royal Commission it was estimated that there would approximately 60,000 applications.
“Many of the issues identified with the operation of the redress scheme, particularly the matrix were issues raised during the Senate inquiry into the legislation and debated in the Senate, but the Government said they couldn’t be changed or ironed out because the states were already in agreement.
“The position was if you don’t pass it now, it won’t start in July so amendments that should have been made were not because the Government left it to a minute to midnight to finalise the scheme.
“During the committee hearing this morning, knowmore, a legal support service for survivors described the “vanilla” comments widely discussed yesterday as devastating for survivors and comments around Pell’s guilt as incredibly damaging.
"You would have thought with all that survivors have been through that our institutions, including the media and legal profession would have learned, but they haven’t. It is unbelievable that someone in the legal profession would describe sexual abuse in this manner.
“The Government needs to do more to ensure that institutions are opting in as soon as possible and be serious about addressing why so few claims have been processed and finalised.”
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180