Anglican Church of Tasmania takes money from ministries to fund National Redress commitments

The Anglican Church of Tasmania will take $15 million from various ministries, rather than sell property, to meet its financial commitments under the National Redress Scheme for victims of sexual abuse.

At last week’s Synod (church parliament), Tasmania’s Anglican Church passed a resolution to use money presently dedicated to chaplaincy in prisons, local parish ministry and ministry to young people, to meet its estimated liability.

“Redirecting these funds to the Redress Scheme will have an impact on our ability to do ministry across Tasmania, but we have made this choice because we are deeply committed to justice for survivors of abuse,” said Richard Condie, Bishop of Tasmania.

“We are not currently exploring the possibility of selling more church properties.

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“In 2018, we made the difficult decision to close and sell a number of our churches across Tasmania. The money we raised through these sales has contributed a significant amount of money to our shared commitment to the Redress Scheme, to bring justice to survivors of abuse.

“We expect that using up to $15 million of our invested capital will reduce the income available to support children’s and youth ministry, parish ministry and chaplaincy across Tasmania … We are making this decision now so that we can develop strategies to minimise the impact.”

“We take all claims very seriously and applaud the courage of those who share their story.” – Richard Condie

Along with the Catholic Church in Australia, the Anglican Church of Tasmania was one of the first denominational groups in Australia to fully commit to the National Redress Scheme (which was borne out of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse).

The deadline for organisations to complete the process of joining the National Redress Scheme was December 31 last year. It is believed that all Christian organisations required to join the scheme met that deadline.

Announcing the prominent shift in the Anglican Church of Tasmania’s approach to funding its Redress Scheme obligations, Bishop Condie encouraged victims of sexual abuse in the diocese to come forward: “We take all claims very seriously and applaud the courage of those who share their story.”

“The church has been working hard to screen, educate and develop church leaders and volunteers who are working with vulnerable people,” explained Bishop Condie about changes implemented across the Anglican Church of Tasmania during the past two decades.

“We have improved our response to, and support for, survivors of sexual abuse. We have no tolerance for abuse of any kind.”