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The royal commission into child sexual abuse could take a long time if it covers every State, a key figure in Victoria's bushfires royal commission said yesterday.

Jack Rush said that while it was important the commission was comprehensive, it was also important that it was quick.

Mr Rush was the senior counsel assisting the 2009 Victorian Bushfires royal commission, which sat for 155 days as it examined the deaths of 173 people.

He said that if the commission into child abuse was too broad, it could become unmanageable.

"The terms of reference need to be wide enough to ensure that the conduct that is being sought to be investigated can be investigated," Mr Rush said.

"But at the same time, it's very important in a royal commission that things are done quickly.

"And when you mention every State, that starts to concern me that this could be something that goes on for a very long time."

With Victoria and NSW already holding their own inquiries into child sexual abuse, Mr Rush said there may be other States that also needed to be looked at individually.

"I think it's of critical importance that this is done absolutely comprehensively but there also needs to be some lines drawn in relation to its scope," he said.