Labor looking to overhaul redress scheme

Labor frontbencher Linda Burney has proposed amendments to the redress scheme for abuse survivors.
Labor frontbencher Linda Burney has proposed amendments to the redress scheme for abuse survivors.

Labor says an advance payment scheme for elderly and ill child sexual abuse survivors must form part of a national redress scheme.

The federal opposition will seek to amend laws before parliament aimed at making a number of technical amendments to the scheme.

Scotland operates a scheme under which those who were abused in care and are terminally ill or aged 68 and over can get fast-tracked access to support.

There are concerns at the current rate of processing applications for redress it could take 45 years to clear the backlog.

As of early September, the scheme had received almost 8000 applications and made 4275 decisions, including 3498 payments totalling $286.6 million.

But only 561 offers of redress had been made.

Labor will also seek to amend the laws to require the minister to publicly name an institution that hasn't already signed up, and cut off any Commonwealth funding or tax deductibility.

As well, the opposition wants the maximum payment set at $200,000 and ensure other types of payments do not impact on the redress.

The government's proposed amendments make a number of minor changes including permitting a redress payment to be made to a person appointed by a court, tribunal or board to manage the financial affairs of the survivor.

The Labor caucus approved the amendments, proposed by frontbencher Linda Burney, at its meeting in Canberra on Tuesday.

"Eight years since the announcement of the royal commission, survivors are still waiting for redress, or dying and missing out altogether," Ms Burney told AAP.

"Labor is willing to work constructively with the government to get the scheme working and delivering redress for survivors."

An independent review of the scheme is under way, headed by former mental health commissioner Robyn Kruk.

Australian Associated Press