Catholic church joins abuse redress scheme

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ROYAL COMMISSION CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE SYDNEY

Archbishop Mark Coleridge says the Catholic Church wants to participate in the abuse redress scheme

The Catholic Church will join a national redress scheme for child sexual abuse survivors, who will share "tens of millions of dollars" in compensation.

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia confirmed on Wednesday the church would enter the scheme when it became law.

"We support the royal commission's recommendation for a national redress scheme, administered by the Commonwealth, and we are keen to participate in it," ACBC president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said.

"Survivors deserve justice and healing and many have bravely come forward to tell their stories."

Archbishop Coleridge said the Catholic church had called for the national redress scheme since 2013.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan said the scheme was on track to begin on July 1 if it passed the Senate.

"The Catholic Church obviously had institutions, churches under its control where terrible, terrible, shocking abuse took place," he told reporters in Canberra.

"Today shows remorse, it shows that they are prepared to take responsibility."

Mr Tehan said the Catholic Church was bringing all its orders and dioceses under one company to make it easier to make payouts.

"We're talking tens of millions of dollars," Mr Tehan said.

CRA president Sister Ruth Durick said redress would not eliminate a survivor's pain but hoped it could offer practical assistance in the journey towards recovery from abuse.

"We are committed to providing redress to survivors who were abused within the Catholic Church," she said.

Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher said the church expected to be paying out survivors for "many years to come", although he couldn't provide an estimated cost.

"We're going to back that with our insurance and our assets," he told the ABC.

"We're determined to bring justice and full redress - healing, if we can - to the victims of this terrible crime."

Archbishop Fisher said the church had endured "scrutiny and humiliation" necessary to expose the wrongs of the past.

"I think it has forced us to make the sort of changes that needed to be made," he said.

Western Australia remains the final state to sign up to the scheme and could be on board within weeks.

Legislation to enable the $3.8 billion opt-in scheme passed federal parliament's lower house on Tuesday night.

Negotiations with WA could be finalised within six to eight weeks, state Attorney-General John Quigley said.

Mr Tehan said he expected to announce more institutions would join the scheme as early as Thursday.