National Redress Scheme update

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston has today named six institutions which have failed to sign up to the National Redress Scheme by the 30 June 2020 deadline.

The institutions are Australian Air League, Boys’ Brigade NSW, Fairbridge Restored Limited, Lakes Entrance Pony Club, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Kenja Communications.

These institutions will now be ineligible to apply for any future Commonwealth funding and the Government is investigating options to revoke tax concessions such as charitable status.

“It is completely unacceptable that these institutions have failed to meet their moral obligation to join the National Redress Scheme,” Minister Ruston said.

“These are institutions which know they have been named in applications and yet they have chosen to shirk their responsibility to finally do the right thing by these survivors.

“I will discuss action state and territory governments can take against these institutions and how we can best support survivors at the next meeting of the Redress Governance Board on 8 July 2020.”

While these six institutions refuse to participate, 55 applications by survivors of institutional abuse are unable to be processed at this time. 

To date the Commonwealth, all state and territory governments and 224 non-government institutions are participating which covers more than 51,000 sites, such as churches, schools, homes, charities and community groups across Australia. A further 156 institutions have now committed to join the Scheme.

As at April 1 there were about 500 applications on hold because they named institutions which had not joined the Scheme.

In the past three months an additional 53 institutions joined the Scheme allowing 34 applications to be processed. Another 298 applications will be able to be processed once the 156 institutions, which have committed to join, finalise their on-boarding by no later than 31 December 2020.

It typically takes institutions between three and six months to complete the on-boarding process as the Scheme requires detailed financial and historical information to support the assessment of applications.

A further 45 institutions have been recognised as defunct relating to 89 applications. The Scheme and Governance Board will work through funder of last resort options for these institutions.

To date four states have agreed to be the funder of last resort for eight defunct institutions.

As at 26 June 2020, the Scheme has received a total of 7,261 applications, 2,693 payments have been made totalling more than $220.9 million and 612 offers are awaiting an applicant’s decision.

“I would like to acknowledge the vast number of institutions and organisations which have joined the Scheme despite not being named in the Royal Commission or in an application,” Minister Ruston said.

“By doing so they have ensured if a survivor does come forward in the future they will be able to quickly receive Redress and they have shown great leadership in the community with their commitment to child safety and ensuring the wrongs of the past never happen again.”

Going forward if a new, non-participating organisation is named in an application they will have six months from the time they are notified of the application to join. Failure to do so will mean they will be publicly named and become ineligible for Commonwealth funding.

“The Morrison Government recognises that survivors of institutional abuse have waited too long for Redress and we are committed to continuing to improve the Scheme,” Minister Ruston said.

“The legislated two year review is now underway and I encourage survivors, support services, advocacy groups and institutions to engage in the process.”

The list of named institutions is available at www.nationalredress.gov.au/institutions/institutions-have-not-yet-joined. Those institutions which have committed to participate in the National Redress Scheme can be found at www.nationalredress.gov.au/institutions/institutions-intending.