Senator Dean Smith, Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Implementation of the National Redress Scheme, has identified two pressing priorities for the Committee in 2021.
Senator Smith said he and the Committee, which works to improve the performance of the Scheme and better deliver justice to institutional child sex abuse survivors, needed to focus urgently on securing redress for the “Fairbridge Kids” and improving access and support for Indigenous Australians.
Comments attributable to Senator Smith:
“Encouraging progress was made in 2020, with the vast majority of institutions joining the Scheme, and the Morrison Government must be credited for the tough stance it took on this incredibly important issue.”
“Despite last year’s positive outcomes, we are still faced with several groups that are being blocked from, or underutilising, the redress owed to them – these must have the Committee’s urgent attention.”
“It keeps being said, but Fairbridge survivors and their supporters have waited far too long for compensation and closure as a result of unforeseen legal and other barriers.”
“Another year cannot go by without any resolution; we must overcome this issue for the “Fairbridge Kids” as quickly as possible and using whatever avenues are available.”
“We must also improve the operation of the Scheme for Indigenous Australians, which includes spreading greater awareness about it in regional and remote areas, as well as providing appropriate support services to survivors.”
“The number of applications from Indigenous Australians is improving, but it can be better, and we must continue to make the Scheme as user-friendly and culturally safe as possible.”