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Prince’s charity hopes for redress action

A youth charity founded by Prince Charles hopes an organisation it restored so child sexual abuse survivors could seek redress will still join an Australian scheme.

Fairbridge Restored is one of six institutions that failed to sign up to the national redress scheme by the June 30 deadline, although two have since declared they will join.

The Prince’s Trust hopes survivors will still be able to seek redress related to the former Fairbridge Society, which brought British child migrants to Australia and operated as an independent charity before merging with the trust in 2012.

Fairbridge Restored’s administrators are continuing talks with redress scheme officials, after failing to at least provide a written commitment by June 30 that it will join.

“It remains our hope that Fairbridge will be able to participate in the scheme,” a trust spokesperson said.

The Prince’s Trust in March reinstated Fairbridge as an organisation in the UK, under administrators from Grant Thornton UK, and provided funding for redress.

A spokesperson for the administrators said they held talks with the Department of Social Services over whether Fairbridge Restored Limited met the criteria to join the scheme, given FRL is insolvent and cannot give creditors arising from the scheme preferential treatment.

“Unfortunately, the administrators have not received any further correspondence from the scheme operators and the matter remains unresolved.

“The administrators intend to continue discussions with the scheme operators to establish whether, or not, FRL could be eligible to join and what other options there may be to work together to best support claimants.”

Boys’ Brigade NSW on Thursday followed the Australian Air League in declaring its late intention to join the scheme, after the federal government named the institutions that missed the deadline.

Boys’ Brigade NSW apologised for the distress that announcement caused to survivors and its current and former members and leaders.

“We would be grateful for understanding that we are a volunteer organisation navigating our way through complex matters,” it said.

The Christian organisation said it was committed to the safety of all children in its care.

In addition to Fairbridge, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lakes Entrance Pony Club and spiritual training organisation Kenja Communication have not joined the scheme after being named in redress applications or the child abuse royal commission.

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