MP to speak to Minister on dying man’s redress delays
FEDERAL member for Page Kevin Hogan has approached the Minister for Social Services over concerns a terminally-ill man might not ever see the payment he's eligible for through the National Redress Scheme.
Goonellabah man Vernon Wilson lodged his application with the scheme nine months ago.
He's now facing a dire lung cancer prognosis, despite having had radiation therapy.
Mr Wilson has expressed concerns about delays in processing his application, as has the law firm helping with his application, Shine Lawyers.
Mr Hogan said his office hadn't been approached about Mr Wilson's situation, but had reached out to him.
"I have also contacted the Minister's office to see if there is any way to have this fast-tracked," Mr Hogan said.
Mr Wilson, 15 at the time, had been in the navy for a matter of hours before he was abused.
His grandfather, of the same name, served in the First Australian Imperial Force while Goonellabah's Cynthia Wilson Drive is named after his grandmother.
Mr Wilson later served in Vietnam.
Believing this could be his last Christmas, Mr Wilson said he'd hope to spend his redress payment on his family.
Mr Wilson said he was pleased to hear Mr Hogan would lobby for his case, but stressed many other survivors were similarly facing hurdles and delays throughout the application process.
"I'd like to see (the process) made a lot easier," Mr Wilson said.
"You're put through more hell than the incident in the years after.
"I've been put through the wringer backwards and forwards and upside down."
Lisa Flynn, an abuse law expert for Shine Lawyers, also welcomed Mr Hogan's involvement.
"We are thrilled to hear that Page MP Kevin Hogan has taken a keen interest in Vernon's case and intends on speaking to the Minister in person during his current trip to Canberra," Ms Flynn said.
"Hopefully Vernon's courage to speak publically about his very personal case will continue the conversation around redress scheme delays and lead to immediate change benefitting the thousands of sexual abuse victims who are stuck in the redress backlog.
"Due to Vernon's terminal illness we had him placed on a priority list within the scheme some seven months ago which basically resulted in no change with his application.
"This is simply not good enough.
"With the support of Mr Hogan we can only hope that sooner rather than later we will receive answers addressing why the scheme is struggling so much to process applications rather than the current lack of transparency that we continue to experience on a daily basis."
The Department of Social Services isn't legally able to comment on specific cases but Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston has previously acknowledged survivors of institutional child sex abuse "have been waiting a long time for redress" and that the scheme was "not perfect".