Institutions get extra time to join scheme

A parliamentary inquiry into the national redress scheme is being chaired by Senator Dean Smith.
A parliamentary inquiry into the national redress scheme is being chaired by Senator Dean Smith.

The federal government has given institutions that have not joined the national redress scheme for survivors of abuse until 2028 to meet the legal requirements.

The deadline of January 31, 2028, was revealed at a parliamentary inquiry on Friday looking at the operation of the scheme, which stemmed from the royal commission into institutional abuse.

Department of Social Services deputy secretary Liz Hefren-Webb noted the date was six months before the scheme was due to end but said the government was committed to working with institutions to get them involved.

Of the 158 institutions named in an application or mentioned at the royal commission, 103 have now been declared members of the scheme and 31 were due to be declared this year.

Fourteen had been "reprioritised due to a change in the status of applications" and 11 had been assessed as "unable to meet the legislative requirements".

The 11 groups had signalled an intent to join but it is understood do not currently have the financial capacity or assets to pay survivors.

Ms Hefren-Webb said there would be no sanctions against those institutions where they had worked collaboratively in an attempt to join the scheme.

In a bid to ensure all survivors are treated fairly, federal, state and territory ministers are working on "funder of last resort" arrangements which could allow redress to flow despite an institution not being a part of the scheme.

Ms Hefren-Webb said a decision on the funder of last resort policy was awaiting a review of the scheme which was due to be finalised in February.

The inquiry is being chaired by Liberal senator Dean Smith.

Australian Associated Press