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SA VIC NSW and Feds now need to offer redress scheme.

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Senator Andrew Murray Democrats Senator for Western Australia

Dated: 18 December 2007

SA VIC NSW and Feds Now Need to Offer Redress Scheme

Senator Andrew Murray, who initiated the Senate inquiries into child migrants and ‘Forgotten Australians’, today urged the governments of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Commonwealth to follow the lead of Tasmania, Queensland and now Western Australia by setting up a redress scheme for those who suffered as children in institutional care last century.

“This measure of justice is essential as it provides a measure of fair compensation and proper recognition of major failings in the provision of care to vulnerable children. It is an alternative to seeking action in the courts, action that is often either time barred in the civil courts, or unable to proceed in the criminal courts because of evidentiary problems”, said Senator Andrew Murray, a long time advocate for care leavers. “Ex-residents of South Australian, Victorian and New South Wales institutions are equally deserving of redress, as much as those in Tasmania, Queensland and WA. Too many in these states also endured terror on a daily basis as children, the legacy of which has endured well into their adult lives. “It is also essential that the Rudd Government take up Recommendation 6 of the 2004 Senate Community Affairs Forgotten Australians report, ignored by the former Howard Government, which states: That the Commonwealth Government establish and manage a national reparations fund for victims of institutional abuse in institutions and out-of-home care settings and that: • the scheme be funded by contributions from the Commonwealth and State Governments and the Churches and agencies proportionately; • the Commonwealth have regard to [other] schemes already in operation in the design and implementation of the above scheme; • a board be established to administer the scheme, consider claims and award monetary compensation; • the board in determining claims, be satisfied that there was a reasonable likelihood that the abuse occurred; • the board should have regard to whether legal redress has been pursued; • the processes established in assessing claims be non-adversarial and informal; and • compensation be provided for individuals who have suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse while residing in these institutions or out-of-home care settings. “A good start to a fairer Australia would be for Prime Minister Rudd to elevate this matter for early consideration at a coming COAG meeting,” concluded Senator Murray.