Government cuts redress payout proposals in half

The scheme was a key recommendation of the commission (Wikimedia)

The child abuse redress scheme proposed by the Turnbull government will provide a minimum compensation payment half the size recommended by the royal commission, The Australian reports.

Confidential draft legislation reveals compensation payments of between $5000 and $150,000 — both below commission recommendations — as Canberra attempts to woo the states, territories and abuse institutions to opt into a $4 billion national scheme. The draft bill has been circulated to the states, and insiders believe the government will set a low bar for proving claims as part of the drive to prevent re-traumatising victims, of whom an estimated 60,000 will seek redress over the next decade.

The government has left open the option of extending the scheme after 2028 as institutions express fears that the private sector will reject a government push to have a lower standard of evidence than that normally required by the insurance industry.

The Australian understands the draft legislation has been used by the commonwealth to negotiate with stakeholders. It factors in long-term psychological care for victims. It will also force multiple organisations to pay compensation if necessary.

The royal commission’s redress and civil litigation paper backed a minimum payment of $10,000, advice that has been rejected by the government in the draft legislation. It has cut the maximum payment from $200,000 to $150,000. The maximum was previously announced by Social Services Minister Christian Porter.

The commission estimated the average payout should be about $65,000. Of its mooted $10,000 minimum payment, it had urged: "It is large enough to provide a tangible recognition of a person’s experience as a survivor of institutional child sexual abuse while still ensuring that a larger relative proportion of total payments is not directed to those who have been less seriously affected by abuse."

While the draft legislation is open for negotiation, it would be unlikely any of the major stakeholders at government and institutional level would argue for a higher minimum payment.

FULL STORY

Child abuse compensation ‘tidal wave’ feared (The Australian)

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