Labor MP Peter Watson has attacked the State Government's decision to offer child sex abuse victims $45,000 payments compared with the $450,000 being paid to the Kimberley ultramarathon burns victims.
Mr Watson and Opposition Leader Mark McGowan met former boarders of St Andrew's Hostel, Katanning, yesterday to receive a 600-signature petition protesting about the $45,000 cap on any ex gratia payments.
"I accept that the women who suffered horrific burns in the ultramarathon fire deserved that money," Mr Watson said. "But these were young children that just went to school - government schools and the hostel." He said the runners scarred by the Kimberley fire knew there were risks and had signed a liability waiver.
Tourism Minister Kim Hames announced the $450,000 "act of grace" payments to Turia Pitt and Kate Sanderson but said they were not made because the Government accepted blame.
Mr Watson, who has helped champion the St Andrew's victims' fight, said there was no doubt about the State's negligence in the sex abuse cases after the report of retired judge Peter Blaxell.
"The Government accepts the State was to blame and now it's telling the victims to go to court if they want any more than the $45,000 cap," he said.
John Jolley, who was one of many students to fall victim to St Andrew's warden Dennis McKenna between 1975 and 1990, said he was disappointed.
"We've lived with this for a very long time and it's pretty hard," he said.
Premier Colin Barnett said he knew no amount of money could make adequate amends.
"The Government has determined the fairest option available is to be consistent with the Redress scheme," he said.He said claims for civil damages would not be affected.
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