Janine Freeman MLALabor Member for Mirrabooka

Your local Labor MP

Barnett Government breaks another promise to Redress victims

Monday 02 May 2011

 

Ms Ellery said Redress WA is the $114million scheme set up by the Carpenter Government to provide ex-gratia payments to people who had been abused as children while in State care.

 

"These included church or charitable residential care, foster care, aboriginal Stolen Generation children placed in care, overseas child migrants and State run residential care," she said.

 

"In July 2009 the Barnett Government announced the maximum amount of the ex-gratia payment would be cut by nearly half from $80,000 to a maximum of $45,000 and that the timeline to finalise all claims would be extended by 6 months to June 2011.

 

"Many Redress WA applicants saw the decision to cut the maximum payment as a second betrayal by the State and in September last year the Premier publicly acknowledged that cuts to Redress were 'a bit too tough'.

 

"Under questioning in Parliament, Community Services Minister Robyn McSweeney has started playing weasel words about when all Redress payments would be completed, now saying only paperwork assessments would be completed by June 2011.

 

"Despite claiming in August 2010 payments were on track to be finalised by June 2011, when asked in Parliament earlier this month Ms McSweeney said payments would not be finalised by June."

 

Ms Ellery said the small group of Western Australians who were abused as children in the care of the State have been betrayed once again by the Barnett Government.

 

"Redress applicants have complained about phones not being answered and calls not being returned by the Redress office," she said.

 

"Many have been given wrong information about when to expect offers of payment.

 

"Many of those who have contacted me described the cuts to the maximum payment and delays in finalising even the smaller payments as another form of abuse.

 

"The State took these children's innocence. Surely in 2011 the Barnett Government can provide these people with some dignity and at the very least meet their promise to complete all payments by June 2011."