State and Territory Attorneys-General have today received correspondence from the Commonwealth Attorney-General regarding a “national approach to redress for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.”
Whilst Victoria is pleased that the Commonwealth is demonstrating an interest in this issue, it is disappointing that there appears to have been no advance on the position foreshadowed by the Commonwealth at the Law Crime and Community Safety Council meeting on 5 November, 2015. Given that almost three months have passed since that meeting, State and Territory Governments had a legitimate expectation that the Commonwealth was preparing a more substantial response than what is apparent from today’s correspondence.
Victoria remains prepared to work cooperatively with the Commonwealth on this important issue. However, we, like other States and Territories recognise that timely progress on this issue is a high priority for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. If the Commonwealth wants to be of assistance in achieving that objective, then it is incumbent on the Prime Minister and the Federal Attorney General to spell out what role they envisage the Commonwealth playing in the establishment and funding of any national scheme. Otherwise, the Commonwealth’s involvement may only serve to delay the establishment of schemes at State and Territory level.