Thousands of child sex abuse survivors are set to get access to compensation after Victoria and NSW signed on to the federal government’s national redress scheme.
Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said having the two largest states on board was a “giant” step which would pave the way for churches and charities to sign up to the scheme .
“I would be very surprised if we don’t get the non-government institutions on board,” Mr Tehan told ABC radio on Friday.
“I would say, you have a moral responsibility to join this scheme.”
The deal caps payments at $150,000 a person, lower than the $200,000 maximum payment recommended by a royal commission.
But the average payment is about $11,000 higher than the commission’s recommendation of $65,000.
Mr Tehan dismissed suggestions the lower cap was a response to pressure from the Catholic Church.
”The final amounts were done based on modelling and consideration given to make sure we could get as many institutions – both government and non-government – to opt in,” he said.
South Australian premier Jay Weatherill has softened his initial opposition in the lead up to the March 17 state election with an in-principle decision to opt in.
Mr Tehan said he would continue negotiations with SA after the election, but was confident they would sign up on the back of “incredibly constructive” negotiations with his state counterparts.
”I would be very surprised if we don’t get all state and territory governments signed up,” he said.
Once the remaining states and territories sign on, the scheme is expected to cover 60,000 people nationally with hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to be paid out.
Victorian and NSW victims of abuse will be able to access the scheme from July 1.