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Royal commission into child sex abuse extended for two years

Commissioners Justice Peter McClellan and Justice Jennifer Coate.

Commissioners Justice Peter McClellan and Justice Jennifer Coate. Photo: Jeremy Piper/POOL

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that was initiated by former prime minister Julia Gillard has been extended for another two years by the Coalition.

The royal commission requested an extra two years to complete its work in its interim report handed down in June: the government has agreed to the request and the reporting date is now set for December 15, 2017, which is after the next federal election.

Attorney-General George Brandis told the Senate on Tuesday the cost will now total half a billion dollars but said the "outlay was justified" because of the importance of the royal commission's work.

"There is more to be learned, there is more that needs to be learned," Senator Brandis told Parliament.

"The extension will give the commission the capacity to hear more stories from victims, conduct more public hearings and issue additional interim reports," the Attorney-General said in a statement.

The minister said he had met the chair of the royal commission, Justice Peter McClellan, twice this year to discuss the inquiry's needs.

Senator Brandis says as a result of the extra time and resources the commission will be able to set an extra 30 public hearings and conduct another 3000 private sessions and carry out 52 research projects.

"All of this will build a much fuller and more complete picture of the scourge of institutional child abuse but most importantly it will give those who need to tell their story the opportunity to do so," he said.

The two year extension comes with $125 million in extra funding on top of the $377 million already allocated in the budget.  In June the commission asked for $104 million in extra funding to and believed it could be completed in time for December 2017.

Labor has previously urged the government to grant the extension and extra funding.

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