Urgent action needed to ensure fair redress for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

30th Jun 2021

Urgent changes must be made to the National Redress Scheme legislation to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive fair and equal access to compensation, say lawyers.

“We are very concerned that National Redress Scheme payments are being unfairly reduced when survivors have received compensation as part of the Stolen Generation,” said Mr Andrew Morrison RFD SC, spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“The legislation should be amended immediately so that First Nations survivors do not have their payments reduced on the basis that they may have received prior compensation as part of the Stolen Generations reparations.”

The final report of the second-year review of the National Redress Scheme was recently released and the Government has provided an interim response.

“We are pleased to see the Government supports this recommendation in principle but this issue requires urgent action not further consideration,” said Mr Morrison, RFD SC. “There is evidence that the rules are being inconsistently applied and the legislation needs amendment immediately to ensure a fair and transparent process for all applicants.”

The findings of the second-year review also showed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors do not have equal access to the scheme due to both cultural and geographical factors.

“To address this, it is critical that the National Redress Scheme meaningfully engages with First Nations communities to develop methods of communication that are appropriate and culturally sensitive,” said Mr Morrison RFD SC.

“The Government needs to urgently implement the recommendations from this review.  The Scheme must be structured so that it supports and fairly compensates all survivors of institutional child sex abuse.”

Tags: Compensation Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Indigenous rights