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Abstract

It is widely recognised that state-funded compensation schemes are of vital importance to victims of criminal injuries. This is primarily because the two alternatives, the civil claim and the compensation order against the offender, are of little practical utility. The various governments of the Australian states and territories have each recognised the need for state-funded schemes. The scope of the state and territory compensation schemes has varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. An analysis of the various schemes presently in operation shows that none them are without shortcomings. The Queensland scheme, which has been described as a "bureaucratic farce’, is the scheme most deserving of reform. Queensland is the only state or territory in Australia not to have enacted a specific statute relating to compensation. Queensland also holds the dubious honour of being the only state or territory in which provisions from its 1960’s scheme continue to operate. The establishment of a tribunal system and the abolition of the ex gratia system would be moves in the right direction. Queensland is also placed in the enviable position of being able to learn from the experiences of the other Australian jurisdictions which have already introduced such systems.

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