Western Australia Minister for Community Services Robyn McSweeney
Start Of Redress WA Ex-Gratia Payment Offers
Victor P Taffa
More than 100 eligible applicants today received offers of ex-gratia payments as part of the Redress WA scheme, the State Government announced today.
Western Australia Minister for Community Services Robyn McSweeney said ex-gratia payment offers for eligible applicants would range from a minimum of $5,000 to a maximum of $45,000.
“The ex-gratia payments are in acknowledgement of the abuse or neglect an applicant suffered while in State care and is not compensation for the impact these terrible experiences had on an applicant’s life.” Mrs. McSweeney said.
“Redress WA anticipates that applicants involved in the initial round of offers will have money deposited in their accounts in the coming weeks.”
Unlike the previous government, the Minister said applicants would not be required to waive their rights to seek further legal redress when accepting an ex-gratia payment saying this was unique to the Western Australian scheme, as compared to existing schemes in Queensland and Tasmania.
“We are also making sure that people with a life threatening illness or condition, who have already received an interim payment, will be the first to receive an ex-gratia payment offer.” Mrs. McSweeney said.
$114 Million has been allocated for the Redress WA scheme of which $90.2 Million has been set aside for ex-gratia payments alone.
The ex-gratia payment offers would be based on information provided by applicants – including their records of time in care – and is assessed against set criteria established for the scheme.
“All applicants will be contacted prior to their applications being assessed, allowing them the opportunity to provide further information to support their claim.” Mrs. McSweeney said.
The Minister said those people who accepted an ex-gratia payment would receive a formal letter of apology from the State Government.
“Redress WA applicants have told us that a formal apology is an extremely important part of helping them move forward with their lives.” Mrs. McSweeney said.
Redress WA expects to make all ex-gratia payment offers to eligible applicants by mid-2011.
Approximately 100 applications would be randomly selected at a time for assessment.