Something had "seriously gone wrong" with the Barnett Government's handling of its compensation scheme for children abused in State care, the head of a royal commission said yesterday.
Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse chairman Justice Peter McClellan questioned the Redress WA process, in which victims unexpectedly had their maximum payout almost halved.
The inquiry was told former residents of Christian Brothers orphanages relived their horrific experiences in the expectation they would get $80,000 and without warning had the amount cut to $45,000.
Director of the Department of Local Government and Communities Narrell Lethorn told the inquiry the scheme received more applicants eligible for the maximum amount than expected and the Government would not increase the budget to cover them.
"I think they did some sort of assessment and it became clear that the amount of $80,000 would be unsustainable," she said.
Justice McClellan put it to Ms Lethorn that the scheme was "bound to run out" of money because of how it was administered.
"Something seriously had gone wrong in the decision as to how to apply it," he asked.
"Yes," Ms Lethorn said.