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Redress scheme’s December deadline booted

Deadline changes for institutions joining the national child abuse redress scheme isn’t about letting them off the hook, the minister responsible insists.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston on Monday announced changes to the scheme’s impending December 31 deadline for institutions to sign up.

The multi-billion dollar scheme was designed to deliver redress for about 60,000 people sexually abused as children in Australian institutions.

But survivors can’t be given redress unless the institution they were abused by has joined the scheme.

The changes mean that from next January any new institution named in an application has six months to join.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston says it’s not about letting institutions off the hook.

“What this change does is put the onus squarely on institutions to fulfil their moral obligation to survivors to own up to the wrongs of the past,” she said.

Failing to join by the six month deadline will result in being publicly named, and the prospect of financial sanctions and the loss of charitable status.

The December 31 deadline remains for institutions already named in an application, or by the royal commission into child sexual abuse, that have said they would join.

Child abuse survivors have until mid-2027 to make an application through the scheme.

It provides access to counselling, a redress payment and a direct personal response such as an apology from an institution, if the survivor wants it.

The government has flagged new laws which would give them the power to follow through with the threat of institutions losing charitable status.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, Kenja Communications and the Lakes Entrance Pony Club are some of the groups holding out on joining the scheme.

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