Senate committee accepts time limits to accept redress under current national scheme bill completely inadequate

29 March 2018
Lawyers for abuse survivors have today welcomed a Senate committee report that found the three month timeframe enshrined within the current national redress scheme bill for accepting offers of redress is completely inadequate to meet the needs of survivors.

Maurice Blackburn Abuse Law Principal Michelle James said the Senate committee’s report had recognised that genuine concerns existed regarding the three month time limit, with the committee satisfied that these would be resolved ahead of the commencement of the redress scheme. The committee also formally recommended an increase in the time limit from three to six months.

“Survivor and legal groups for months have made clear to the Federal Government that the three month time frame to accept an offer of redress under the national scheme was completely inadequate and it is pleasing that the Senate committee have acknowledged this issue in handing down its report,” Ms James said.

“As our firm made clear to the committee, three months is a wholly inadequate time frame given the very serious nature of the injuries that abuse survivors have suffered – there is just no way a survivor can be expected to work through the many complexities required to decide whether to accept an offer of redress in only 90 days.

“The Royal Commission also recognised this and that’s why it recommended survivors be provided with 12 months to decide if they would accept an offer of redress.

“The Federal Government has refused to listen to this very valid concern, but pleasingly the Senate committee have accepted it’s a significant problem and we also welcome the committee’s view that these concerns are expected to be resolved by the relevant Department ahead of the commencement of the redress scheme.

“It is also critical that states that have signed on to the national redress scheme take this feedback on board in the implementation of the scheme for survivors,” she said.

A copy of Maurice Blackburn’s submission to the Senate committee is available here.

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