Queensland local councils are taking steps to participate in the Federal Government’s National Redress Scheme for victims of institutional child sex abuse with the support of the Palaszczuk Government.
Minister for Child Safety Di Farmer said the Palaszczuk Government has been working closely with the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) to finalise arrangements for councils to participate in the Scheme as part of the State.
“Many people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse have suffered traumas that most of us can’t even imagine,” she said.
“They were abused by people in positions of power, who they should have been able to trust. If they were brave enough to speak up, they weren’t believed and often were even punished for telling the truth.
“The pain and anguish that many victims and survivors go through is profound and lifelong, and we all have a shared responsibility to do everything we can to help support them to find justice and heal.”
Ms Farmer thanked the LGAQ for taking steps to ensure local councils were included in the National Redress Scheme, so that people who have experienced historical abuse in council settings in Queensland can also access to redress.
“The LGAQ shares our government’s commitment to making sure that as many victims and survivors as possible can access redress, and to taking responsibility for the past, and I thank them for taking steps to join the Scheme.”
LGAQ President and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said it was important to ensure that individuals making claims were provided with certainty and clarity to avoid further distress.
“The Association appreciates the mindful and pragmatic approach proposed by the Queensland Government to dealing with these very difficult circumstances and ensuring the necessary support is provided to claimants and councils,” he said.
Ms Farmer said the LGAQ’s commitment to the Scheme was especially significant, given that councils are not currently included as participating State institutions.
“For councils to participate as part of the state, the Federal Government will need to legislate to include Queensland councils under the Queensland Government’s participation in the National Redress Scheme,” she said.
“I have written to the Federal Minister for Families and Social Services to urge the Federal Government to make sure Queensland councils can participate as State institutions in the Scheme as soon as possible.”
Ms Farmer noted that while people who have experienced institutional child sexual abuse could apply for redress now, their claim cannot be assessed until the responsible institution joins the Scheme.
“I again call on those non-government institutions that have not already done so to opt in as soon as possible,” she said.
“I am profoundly disappointed to see that many institutions, including those named in the Royal Commission, have yet to do so.
“Those institutions need to know that this government won’t take the pressure off them, and we are resolute about doing all we can to ensure that all relevant institutions are participating in the Scheme by the national deadline of 30 June 2020.
“Many people have waited for decades already – they shouldn’t have to wait any longer.”