April 30, 2018 | AAP | The Guardian
Annastacia Palaszczuk says state will join NSW, Victoria and ACT in supporting the scheme
The Queensland government has signed up to the national redress scheme that ensures compensation for the survivors of historical child sexual abuse in state institutions.
The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, on Monday announced her Labor government would provide $550m towards the federally managed fund.
Queensland joins New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory in following the key recommendation of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
“There have been a lot of people who have been on this journey and it took a lot of courage for people to go towards the royal commission and say things that would have been very, very difficult to say,” Palaszczuk said. “It made us as a nation take note of the historical abuse, the appalling abuse that had happened to thousands of people across our nation.”
The Liberal National party leader, Deb Frecklington, welcomed the move but criticised the government for being one of the last states to get on board with the scheme.
Many survivors have shared in the $100m the state government paid out following Queensland’s Forde inquiry.
Karen Adams, a survivor who has fought for justice and compensation for others for decades, called on Queensland-based institutions, including churches, charities and other non-government organisations, to sign up.
“Especially the churches, because it is their mandate, when harm is done, so we are hoping that that’s what they will do,” she said.
Adams said the move was only part of the reconciliation process, and ongoing discussions around the needs of ageing survivors was necessary. She acknowledged abuse victims who had taken their lives and hoped the efforts of survivors who had fought hard over the years would make it easier for other victims to come forward.
“They have avenues,” she said. “They don’t have to remain silent like we did for many years.”
Compensation payments will range up to $150,000 and will be assessed on a case by case basis.
Redress is available in the form of a payment, access to counselling and psychological care, and a direct response from the institution responsible for compensation, such as an apology or meeting with relevant representatives.
“What you are seeing now is an almost national consensus across the board,” Palaszczuk told the ABC. “Already Victoria and New South Wales had signed up, and let’s not forget they did not have any redress scheme in the past, so Queensland had to sort through some of those issues.”
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