Tasmania’s Anglican Church has extended the deadline for community feedback over its controversial plan to sell churches to fund redress for child sex abuse survivors.
The deadline for feedback was originally September 1, but has now been pushed back to October 1 – a move which the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania said was “in the interests of good process”.
Bishop Richard Condie said the extension would allow more time for community groups to “consider their options”.
“We welcome community members’ input in our decisions around the sale of property, and are keen to receive their input,” Dr Condie said.
The diocese’s church sale plan has provoked ire in certain corners of the community, with some Tasmanians expressing concern that the heritage values of Anglican churches may be compromised in the event that they are sold.
Others are simply upset at the prospect of losing their local spiritual hub.
In May, state Attorney-General Elise Archer announced that the government would be joining the National Redress Scheme, which was a key recommendation of the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.
The scheme will administer financial redress to survivors of institutional child sexual abuse.
Tasmania’s Anglican Diocese is seeking to fund its own contribution to the scheme.
Public submissions regarding the proposal to sell churches are being made to a diocesan council, overseen by an independent probity advisor, Harvey Gibson, of consultancy firm Wise Lord and Ferguson.
The diocese invites submissions to be made under two categories: asking that a building be retained by the church; or asking that the ownership be transferred to a community group.
The council will make its final decisions on potential church sales in December.