Anglican Church pulls properties from sale in Tasmania after backlash
The Anglican Church has reduced the number of properties it will put on the market in Tasmania to fund its contribution to the National Redress Scheme for sexual abuse survivors in institutional care.
Of the 108 buildings originally earmarked for sale, a third will now be exempt after a meeting on Saturday between the Diocesan Council and the Appeals Panel.
They include several high-profile churches which have been the subject of community concern but the properties will not be revealed until later today.
The Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie, said in a statement the right balance had been struck between fulfilling redress obligations of about $8 million and ensuring the sustainability of the church.
He said the church had listened.
“This has been a difficult process and we believe we have struck the right balance between fulfilling our redress obligations and ensuring sustainability of the church,” he said.
Chairman of Save Our Community Soul (SOCS), David Downie, said his members were waiting “with great interest” to see which properties remain on the list to be sold off.
“I think it’s great that we’ve got a large number of properties that have been removed, that’s a great sign, but we’ll wait to see which properties are on the list and which are not,” he said.
Mr Downie said he would like communities to be able to keep their churches if they wished to.
“It’s up to the local communities where those churches are situated,” he said.
Parishioners at Windermere raised $45,000 to save their local church. (ABC News: Declan Gooch)
“If they want to keep those churches, they should be able to keep the churches they have built and they have maintained over a long time.”
Southern Midlands councillor Tony Bisdee, who is also a member of the SOCS group, said it was a step in the right direction.
“Well it’s very encouraging that the Diocesan Council and the Anglican Church have acknowledged the community concern that’s certainly been made very evident over the period,” he said.
“We anxiously await the decision and announcement by the Anglican Church of which churches have been removed off the list.
The plan prompted a community backlash with parishioners at Windermere, near Launceston, raised $45,000 to stop their church being sold.