SA to join $3.8 billion national redress scheme

A new report says Australia's Catholic Church lags behind other countries when it comes to protecting children. Source: AAP

South Australia has opted into the National Redress Scheme for people who were sexually abused as children in government institutions.

South Australia will sign up to the National Redress Scheme to provide support for people who were sexually abused as children in government institutions.

SA will join other states and territories in opting into the scheme, which will come into effect as a federal law from July 1.

"Nothing can undo the inexcusable abuse that survivors experienced as children, but we can acknowledge what they have been through and provide financial compensation and emotional support," Premier Steven Marshall said on Monday.

The state will contribute $146 million from its victims of crime fund to the $3.8 billion national scheme.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said religious, charity and non-government organisations would be liable to pay their own compensation.

"If there is an existing church or organisation which provides camps or activities for children, in the NGO or private sector, then they will be legally responsible," she said.

"What it means though is that they can have the processing done and the assessment done by a national secretariat."

If the organisation no longer exists, the government fund will cover the cost of compensation.

A state compensation scheme offering up to $50,000 in compensation has been open to survivors since an inquiry into abuse of children in state care.

Ms Chapman said those who had already accessed or were in the process of applying for state funds would be contacted regarding the new scheme.

Under the federal plan, survivors are eligible for up to $150,000 in compensation and access to psychological support.

"Those who have received funds would be advised so that they may have an opportunity to have a top-up," she said.

"Obviously they can't receive double sets of funding."

Monday's announcement was "cautiously welcomed" by SA-BEST MP Frank Pangallo, who said the pledge marked a significant day for tens of thousands of child sex abuse survivors.

But the party called on the federal government to stop indexing payments to abuse survivors, some of whom had received as little as $2000 in redress under state schemes in Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Mr Pangallo said it was "totally unfair" the payments would be taxed at 1.9 per cent per year.

"The federal government is taking from the poorest of abuse victims and must reconsider this recommendation, which was made by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse," he said.

Most other states and territories have committed to the scheme but Western Australia wants the federal government to take responsibility for child migrants before it signs on.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch