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Hodgman Government Failing Survivors of Past Childhood Sexual Abuse

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Sunday, 4 June 2017

Tags: National Redress Scheme, Federal Budget, Child Abuse

Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader

The Hodgman Government is letting down Tasmanian victims of past sexual abuse by failing to allocate funds in this year's Budget towards the National Redress Scheme, a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Established by the Gillard Government in 2013, the Royal Commission has held hearings around the country, including Tasmania, listening to harrowing stories of the sexual abuse of children placed in the 'care' of church run and other institutions.  

The Commission found that the many thousands of survivors of this abuse around the country carry deep, terrible psychological and emotional scars into adulthood.  

It recommended State and Commonwealth governments contribute towards a National Redress Scheme to ensure a measure of justice through monetary compensation for victims of past abuse.

In its Redress and Civil Litigation Report handed down in September 2015, the Commission estimates 1750 Tasmanians abused as children in institutional settings may be eligible for civil compensation under the National Redress Scheme. *

All States and Territories are expected to commit funding yet there is no allocation in this coming, or any subsequent State Budget year, towards the Scheme. 

More than 18 months after the report was handed down, and with the Turnbull Government allocating $33.4 million in this year's Federal Budget, there is no excuse for the Hodgman Government's failure.

The Premier needs to explain why his government has ignored the Royal Commission's recommendation and why it hasn't prioritised Tasmanian survivors of past abuse who are carrying lifelong scars.

The Royal Commission recommended the Scheme be in place by 1 July 2017 and estimates Tasmania's funding share towards the Scheme to be around $13 million over the next decade.  Our Alternative Budget allocates $5 million over four years.

This is not a huge sum of money in the context of a multi-billion dollar State Budget and $300 million windfall gain from GST and stamp duty.  

Tasmanian survivors of past abuse and their families will be asking why the Liberals are abrogating the State's responsibility to contribute.

The Royal Commission's final report is due to be delivered in December this year.