Update on the Australian NRS

As readers of our Abuse & Neglect Blog will be aware the NRS started on the 1st July, 2018 and will be open for 10 years, so it is now well into its fourth year of operation.

As of December, 2020 the Australian NRS had received 9,008 applications and had finalised 4,503 applications.

In its most recent update on the 1st April, 2022 the NRS advised as follows:-

Application progress

As of 25 March 2022, the NRS:-

  • Had received 14,582 applications.
  • Made 9,164 decisions — including 7,889 payments, totalling over $682.6 million (m), with an average of $86,521
  • Has made 8,679 offers for redress. Applicants have six months to consider their offer of redress.
  • 5,923 applications are currently being progressed, 702 are on hold or paused, including 112 applications due to institution not participating (representing 1.9% of applications on hand).
  • The total number of applications finalised and redress payments in Year 1 are 239 (AUS$19.8m), 2,537 (AUS$205.0m) in Year 2, 3,283 (AUS$285.0m) in Year 3 of the Scheme and 2,148 (AUS$172.8m) in Year 4 of the Scheme.
  • 43 Individual Decision Makers are currently actively making decisions.

Participating institutions update

  • All Commonwealth and State and Territory government institutions and 577 non-government institutions are now participating in the Scheme.
  • Approximately 70,200 sites across Australia are now covered by the Scheme.
  • To date, 63 institutions have been declared under the Funder of Last Resort (FOLR) arrangements. These institutions are defunct, as government is equally responsible for the abuse and the Commonwealth and/or relevant state governments are the FOLR.

Since December 2020, some 14 months ago, the NRS have finalised 3,659 applications, which allowing for the outstanding number of applications that have yet to be decided appears to be at a slower rate than would be anticipated. The rate of processing of applications by the NRS has been the subject of criticism by victims and survivors since the inception of the NRS.

Having received only 14,582 applications to date out of an expected 65,000 it appears that the real pressures of operating a national redress scheme has yet to be experienced by the NRS and questions remain whether the existing systems and processes operated by the NRS will be able to respond as and when the rate of applications inevitably increase.

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