Australia  |  

Catholic Church signs on to national redress scheme

PM Malcolm Turnbull welcomes this ‘significant development’

UPDATE (May 31): One day after the Catholic Church’s announcement, the Anglican Church and Salvation Army are joining the national redress scheme. Other organisations including Scouts and YMCA have also joined the scheme.

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Pressure is on Australian Christian churches as the national redress scheme begins on July 1 and the Catholic Church of Australia today has become the first non-government organisation to sign on.

In line with earlier assurances about its involvement, the Catholic Church of Australia’s governing bodies – the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) and Catholic Religious Australia – stated their willingness to participate in the scheme.

“Today’s announcement that the Catholic Church will support the National Redress Scheme is a significant development.” – Malcolm Turnbull

In a statement, ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said: “We support the royal commission’s recommendation for a national redress scheme, administered by the Commonwealth, and we are keen to participate in it.”

“Survivors deserve justice and healing and many have bravely come forward to tell their stories.”

Western Australia is the only state or territory yet to sign up to the scheme that will offer victims up to $150,000 in compensation. Earlier this week, the South Australian government announced it will contribute $146m. Given SA has about 8 per cent of Australia’s population, its $146m contribution could indicate that state governments could be providing at least $1.5bn to the scheme.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office issued a positive response to the Catholic Church’s announcement: “The National Redress Scheme will provide access to counselling, a direct personal response from the institution and a monetary payment,” the PMO statement explained.

“Almost 2,500 survivors gave evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about sexual abuse in an institution managed by the Catholic Church. According to the royal commission’s final report, 61.8 per cent of all survivors of sexual abuse in a religious institution were from a Catholic-managed institution.

“Today’s announcement that the Catholic Church will support the National Redress Scheme is a significant development.”

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