A national redress scheme for institutional sexual abuse victims is the most significant step to right the wrongs of the past, Social Services Minister Dan Tehan says.
He introduced legislation to establish the scheme to federal parliament on Wednesday.
It was a disgrace that vulnerable members of the community were sexually abused as children by people charged with their care and protection, Mr Tehan said.
The scheme, which already has commitments from Victoria, NSW and the ACT to sign on, will provide payments up to $150,000 for survivors, as well as counselling and psychological services.
The average payment is expected to be about $76,000.
Survivors will also receive a personal response from the institution where the abuse occurred, which Mr Tehan said would give them a chance to share their experience and its effects.
"It is the most significant step in addressing the wrongs of the past and providing a just response to survivors," he told parliament.
"It is also an important step toward healing, it ensures governments and institutions take steps to safeguard against these crimes being repeated in future."
If the legislation passes parliament the scheme will come into effect from July 1 this year and run for 10 years.
The first eligible applicants will include 1000 people abused in commonwealth government institutions, 9000 in NSW, 5000 in Victoria and 200 in the ACT.
Mr Tehan said detailed negotiations with other state and territory governments and non-government institutions including churches and charities were ongoing.
"As a nation we owe the survivors who fought so hard and so long for truth to pass this bill and have this scheme operational by 1 July this year," he said.