As readers of our blog will be aware the Australian National Redress Scheme opened for applications on the 1 July, 2018 and it will remain open for 10 years.
When the Government committed to establishing the National Redress Scheme (NRS) it was expected that there would be 60,000 to 65,000 applicants and that the redress payments and associated benefits would cost somewhere in the region of AUS$4.38 billion.
As at 26 April 2019:
- The NRS received over 3,600 applications.
- 148 Redress payments have been made.
- In addition, a further 24 offers have been made. Applicants have six months to consider their offer.
- The average Redress payment amount is around $82,635.
The rate of applications being submitted to the NRS is lower than anticipated although the experience of other National Redress Schemes is that there are a disproportionate number of applications submitted at the later end of the Scheme.
The rate of processing of applications is also slow with less than 5% of the applications received since July, 2018 having resulted in redress payments being made. This outcome is no doubt impacted by the fact that applicants have up to six months to accept or reject the offer of redress made to them by the NRS.
The NRS funding arrangements follow the principle recommended by the Royal Commission that the institution in which the abuse occurred should fund the cost of redress.
The NRS is a voluntary opt in Scheme, where institutions are not compelled to join.
All Commonwealth institutions have indicated that they are participating in the NRS.
Participating institutions be they government or non-government institutions are liable to cover the costs of providing redress to a person under the NRS where the NRS determined them responsible for the abuse a person experienced.
Institutions who want to join the Scheme must do so by 30 June 2020.
As of the 16 May, 2019 there are 85 institutions yet to join the NRS but of those 85 institutions, 52 have already indicated that they intend to join.
What the figures illustrate is that the majority of institutions have availed of the opportunity to join the NRS and have allegations of sexual abuse dealt with under the NRS and no doubt others will avail of this opportunity before the cut-off date of the 30 June 2020.
Sharon Moohan, Partner, BLM