Senate report on abuse redress laws due

Megan Neil

A Senate committee is expected to endorse legislation for the $3.8 billion national redress scheme, despite Labor and others saying some child sexual abuse survivors will be "short-changed".

The Senate community affairs legislation committee is due to hand down its report on the redress scheme laws on Friday.

Survivor groups and Labor are among those who have criticised the $150,000 cap on redress payments, given the child abuse royal commission recommended a $200,000 maximum.

Opposition social services spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said it was disappointing the federal government and states did not agree with the royal commission.

"But that said, the $150,000 cap is certainly better than no redress scheme at all," she told ABC radio on Thursday.

The federal government argues that while the cap is lower than the commission recommended, the $76,000 average payment is $11,000 higher.

Ms Macklin said Labor also believed the level of counselling was not high enough, but wanted the scheme to start as planned on July 1 so survivors did not have to wait any longer.

Labor said some survivors may end up with nothing, or much less redress than they anticipated, after past payments were adjusted for inflation, echoing advocacy group Care Leavers Australasia Network's concerns.

"We are concerned that some people are going to get short-changed, but we certainly won't be seeking to hold up the redress scheme," Ms Macklin said.

The federal government has amended the policy that blocks sex offenders or anyone jailed for five years or more for serious crimes from redress under the scheme.

Applications from institutional child sexual abuse survivors with serious criminal convictions will now be assessed on a case-by-case basis, but survivor groups, advocates and lawyers oppose the exclusion.

The federal government agreed to the Senate committee's earlier recommendations, which included doubling the acceptance period for redress offers to six months - still short of the royal commission's one-year recommendation.

The committee also recommended governments consider the value of redress as a tool for rehabilitating offenders, noting that excluding criminal offenders could also have the unintended consequence of institutions not being held liable.

The major churches, charities and all states and territories have committed to joining the scheme.

The legislation is expected to pass the Senate in the coming week.