The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to social security payments. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

9.1 Administration of the National Redress Scheme for Institutional Child Sexual Abuse Act 2018


This section sets out the Commonwealth's legislative power to provide redress to a person.

Constitutional basis for this Act

The constitutional basis of the NRSAct is dependent on whether a state or territory is participating in the Scheme. If a state is participating in the Scheme, they must have referred their relevant constitutional powers to the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth does not have the constitutional authority to provide redress to a person from institutions in a state unless the state has referred these powers to the Commonwealth. Territories are not required to refer powers, as the Commonwealth Parliament has the power to make laws for the government of a territory, under section 122 of the Australian Constitution.

Concurrent operation with state or territory laws

The NRSAct operates concurrently with all state and territory laws to the extent that this is possible under their law. This means even if a state or territory has a similar law in place that provides for redress to a person who experienced abuse that similar law can operate alongside the NRSAct.

Extraterritorial applications

The NRSAct applies both within and outside Australia, and extends to every external territory. This includes:

  • Ashmore and Cartier Islands
  • Australian Antarctic Territory
  • Christmas Island
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands
  • Coral Sea Islands
  • Heard and McDonald Islands
  • Norfolk Island.

Act reference: NRSAct section 174 Constitutional basis for this Act, section 175 Concurrent operation with State and Territory laws, section 176 Extraterritorial application and extension to external Territories

Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act

Last reviewed: