Government responds to Second Year Review of the National Redress Scheme

The Australian Government has released the Final Government Response to the independent Second Year Review of the National Redress Scheme for institutional child sexual abuse (the Scheme).

The Final Government Response highlights the Federal and state and territory governments’ shared commitment to the continuous improvement of the Scheme and builds on actions taken since the Interim response released in June 2021.

In announcing the Final Government Response to the Second Year Review, Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, emphasised the importance of a survivor-focused approach to the Scheme.

“The Government’s main concern is the wellbeing of survivors, and ensuring the Redress process is as smooth as possible,” Minister Rishworth said.

The additional improvements reflected in the Final Response include:

  • offering reassessment of an application if a relevant institution subsequently joins the scheme;
  • removing the restrictions on people applying from prison;
  • making changes to the process related to Serious Criminal Convictions to reduce the number of people required to go through the full special assessment process;
  • combining separate payments to simplify the assessment process and ensure all redress outcomes recognise the impact of the abuse survivors experienced;
  • changing the internal review processes to allow additional information to be provided by applicants as part of a review of their redress outcome; and
  • further expanding access to redress for former child migrants.

Of the 38 recommendations, only four were not supported due to concerns they could create inequities or could prevent institutions participating in the Scheme, which would ultimately prevent survivors being able to access redress.

Minister Rishworth highlighted the progress that has already been made to the Scheme in recent months thanks to the Government’s commitment to meaningful consultation and co-design with survivors and support services.

“We know survivors have been waiting for the Final Government Response. While it has taken longer than expected to carefully consider all Review recommendations and their implications we have still been forging ahead with improvements,” Minister Rishworth said.

Many changes have already been incorporated into the Scheme to support survivors, include implementing a Service Charter, embedding a Survivor Roundtable and providing more support services across Australia.

“Listening to the voices of people with lived experience is at the heart of our shared commitment to delivering an improved and accessible National Redress Scheme,” Minister Rishworth said.

“We will continue to engage with survivors, advocates, and service providers to ensure they can get the information and support they need as we work toward implementing the Scheme improvements.”

All proposed Scheme improvements are subject to legislative change, to be agreed with state and territory governments.

Since the Scheme was established in 2018, over $1 billion dollars in redress payments has been paid to survivors. There are over 600 non-government organisations now participating in the Scheme, covering more than 71,000 sites such as churches, schools, homes, charities, and community groups, across Australia.

More information is available at the Department of Social Services website and the National Redress Scheme website.