THE parliamentary inquiry into clergy sexual abuse has had its funding cut, upsetting Ballarat-based victims and advocacy groups.
Victims say it is hardly a surprise to hear of the cut, claiming the inquiry was doomed to fail from the start.
Budget papers reveal the parliamentary committee in charge of the long-awaited inquiry into clergy sexual abuse has had its budget slashed by $200,000. Funding for all State Parliament committees has been trimmed from $6.9 million this financial year to $6.7 million for next financial year.
The cuts come just weeks after Premier Ted Baillieu announced the inquiry would take place.
Stephen Woods, who was abused at St Alipius Christian Brothers School in the 1970s, described the funding cut as “another blow”.
Although he initially welcomed the parliamentary inquiry, he now believes only a royal commission will go far enough.
“They weren’t fully committed in the first place. It’s hardly a surprise, especially when they really didn’t fund it well to begin with,” Mr Woods said. “I think the government has to reassess its priorities.”
A leaked report last month claimed there were as many as 40 cases of suicide that stemmed from sexual abuse. “If people are dying it is the government’s responsibility to address the problem,” said Mr Woods.
Rob Walsh, another St Alipius victim, said the funding cut was further evidence that a royal commission was the only way to get to the bottom of the issue.
Broken Rites, which supports church sex abuse victims, said it would be almost impossible to properly investigate the allegations without appropriate funding.
“The forensic side of this is going to be very demanding.
“If they haven’t got the money for these things, it’s just fairyland,’’ said Broken Rites spokesman Wayne Chamley.
Shadow treasurer Tim Holding agreed.
“It’s impossible to expect the committee to conduct this controversial and sensitive inquiry when its funding has been cut,’’ he said.