AS the Western Australian Government defends its decision to reduce compensation to people who were abused as children in state care, the state’s lawyers are furious about the decision.
“The State Government has undermined the community’s trust as well as the success of future redress programs following recent funding cuts to the Redress WA scheme,” said the Law Society of Western Australia senior vice president, Hylton Quailon, on the eve of a public protest in response to the changes.
Redress WA was set up under the previous Labor Government to make ex gratia payments to children who suffered abuse in Australia’s orphanages, children’s homes and while in foster care.
Since they were introduced, more than 10,000 people applied. But the Government recently cut the maximum payment of $80,000 to $45,000.
It has also moved to cap counselling sessions for victims to six sessions.
But the body representing lawyers in WA said the government is “sending the wrong message to those abused members of the community seeking remedial justice for past government wrongdoings”.
“The applicants are victims of abuse under state care who have had to overcome numerous psychological hurdles just to submit an application, and most of them did so as a means of having their neglect and abuse acknowledged by the relevant authorities,” said Quailon.
“The government has let these people down.”