Ministers Redress Scheme Governance Board Communique

30 March 2020

On Monday, 30 March 2020, the Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, hosted the Ministers Redress Scheme Governance Board (Board) meeting of relevant Ministers with responsibility for the National Redress Scheme (the Scheme) in their state or territory.

Ministers acknowledged the impacts of the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation on people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse and their families. While Ministers recognised there would be increased pressure on the Scheme during this time, they committed to continue a focused effort to ensure applications are processed as efficiently as possible.

Following on from the 29 November 2019 meeting, Ministers noted improvements to the number of applications that have been processed with 1,496 applications finalised as at 20 March 2020, including 1,473 payments made, totalling over $118.6 million, with an average payment of $80,502. Ministers agreed that continued improvements are required to ensure quicker processing times.

Ministers reiterated that institutions must join the Scheme by 30 June 2020. Ministers agreed that it is unacceptable that institutions that have the capacity to join the Scheme, and have had ample time to do so, have still not joined. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to take appropriate action regarding these institutions so that as many survivors of institutional child sexual abuse as possible have access to redress. This may include the public identification of these institutions in accordance with the Scheme's legislation, financial sanctions applied by state, territory or Commonwealth governments, and changes to an organisation's charitable status.  Ministers noted that the Scheme now covers around 48,000 sites, such as churches, schools, children's homes, charities and community groups across Australia. Ministers agreed to continue to actively encourage non‑participating NGIs to join the Scheme.

Ministers acknowledged the need for strong transparency of the Scheme's performance and agreed on a set of performance measures to report against three priority areas: survivor experience, the health of the Scheme, and equity of access.  Measures will be reported against every six months with the first report to be made public in October 2020. The measures will focus on application timeliness, a survivor's experience of the Scheme, whether the Scheme is delivering on its overarching intent, encouraging and maintaining institutional participation and accessibility of the Scheme and related Scheme support services. The details of these measures will be published on the Scheme website.

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