Who can be a representative of a participating group?
For the purposes of the Scheme, the Minister for Families and Social Services must declare a representative for a participating institution/s where:
- 2 or more participating institutions become a participating group, or
- a participating institution is either an:
- unincorporated lone institution, or
- participating defunct institution.
The Minister may declare a representative for an incorporated lone institution where this is requested by the institution.
Representatives must be a 'legal person'. This generally includes a body politic, a body corporate or an individual (Acts Interpretation Act 1901).
Representatives can perform this role for more than 1 participating group or participating lone institutions or participating defunct institutions.
Representatives may have financial obligations in the Scheme depending on the circumstances. For example, representatives of participating groups and unincorporated lone institutions will be jointly and severally liable with each associate of the group for a person's redress under the Scheme.
A representative will generally perform the following roles on behalf of a participating group or institution:
- manage and coordinate requests for information
- distribute invoices and collect monies where requested, and
- provide or facilitate a direct personal response where requested.
To become a representative the Minister will declare by notifiable instrument, a representative for a non-government participating group, lone or defunct institution. The Minister must be satisfied that the representative has agreed to fulfil its obligations to perform this role before making a declaration.
The Minister must not declare a representative for a participating State or Territory institution as the representative will always be the relevant Commonwealth, state or territory government.
Actions of representatives
A representative is able to perform any action on behalf of a participating institution or group.
However, where a representative agrees to act on behalf of a defunct institution, it must also provide redress to a person on behalf of the defunct institution.
Representatives will receive any notice under the Scheme on behalf of any institutions it represents.
Ceasing to be a representative
The Minister may by notifiable instrument, revoke the representative status of an institution or a person. This means that they cease to be a representative.
To cease being a representative of non-government institutions either:
- the representative must request in writing to the Minister to cease being the representative, or
- each member of the participating group (apart from the representative) must request in writing to the Minister that the representative cease being the group's representative, or
- the representative dies, ceases to exist or is insolvent.
Before making the revocation, the Minister will notify the representative (where still operating) of the proposal to revoke the declaration and to seek advice as to why they should not be revoked. The representative will be provided a period of 10 business days to respond. If there is no response, and the Minister is satisfied, after this period, the Minister may proceed in making a revocation declaration.
Where the representative for a participating group of non-government institutions had either died, ceased to exist, or is insolvent, the Minister must make a revocation declaration.
A representative will continue to be a representative for a person's application for redress where the application is received by the Scheme before the date of the revocation.
Act reference: NRSAct Part 5-1 Participating institutions, section 118 Representatives for participating defunct institutions, section 120 Ceasing to be the representative for a defunct non‑government institution, section 125 Representatives for participating lone institutions, section 128 Ceasing to be the representative for a lone institution, Part 5-2 Groups of institutions participating in the scheme, section 136 Representatives for participating groups, section 138 Ceasing to be the representative for a participating group of non‑government institutions
NRS Rules Part 12 Participating institutions and participating groups
Policy reference: Redress Guide 7.5 Participating groups