Australia – more institutions join but redress is slow

The latest update from the National Redress Scheme (NRS) in Australia which was published last week advises that on 18 April 2019, the following institutions joined the Scheme:

  • Benedictine Community of New Norcia
  • Child and Family Services Ballarat (CAFS)
  • Scouts Tasmania
  • Yeshivah-Beth Rivkah Schools

The fifth group of Anglican organisations have also joined, represented by Anglican Representative Limited. They are:

  • Anglican Diocese of Armidale
  • Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn
  • Anglican Diocese of Wangaratta
  • Anglicare North Queensland
  • Anglicare Victoria

Statistics have also recently been published as to the current status of processing applications for the NRS which has been open since 1 July 2018.

As at the 22 March 2019, the statistics are as follows:

  • The Scheme received over 3,300 applications.
  • 115 Redress payments have been made.
  • In addition, a further 22 offers have been made. Applicants have six months to consider their offer.
  • The average Redress payment amount is around $81,346.

The statistics coming out of the NRS in terms of processing applications appear to indicate that the process of making an award is slower than would have been anticipated, especially by survivors who were awaiting the NRS for several years.

The NRS will soon be open for 12 months and when one compares the number of completed cases against the only other comparable national redress scheme in Ireland it would appear the NRS is lagging behind.

During the first year of operation of the Irish Residential Institutions Redress Board it received 2,573 applicants.  While applications were received throughout the entire year, the Irish Redress Board did not begin to finalise cases until in the second half of that year.  In that six month period the Irish Redress Board completed cases to 587.  By the end of its first year in existence the Irish Redress Board was making awards in 120 applications a month.

One of the main benefits of a redress scheme for those who are entitled to apply for it, is that it is supposed to be a speedier alternative to lengthy civil litigation.

With that in mind if the NRS hopes to meet survivor expectations and deliver on its own objectives it needs to be making speedier awards of redress.

news_21734JD Authored by Sharon Moohan, Partner, BLM

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