Published: 25 March 2020
Author: Amy Olver
Stolen generation redress scheme announced
Overwhelmed as we have been by news of COVID-19, one news story which offers the solace of hope to the Stolen Generation seems to have flown under the radar.
The Andrews government has announced it will introduce a redress scheme for those who suffered trauma as a result of the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families.
$10 million is earmarked to be invested to develop a scheme which is anticipated to start in 2021. The structure of the Stolen Generations redress scheme and eligibility criteria are yet to be decided but may include redress payments, funding for counselling, and/or a funeral or memorial fund. Support for those wanting to make an application is also at the forefront of people’s minds.
The news is particularly welcome now, given the additional challenge of COVID-19 which is expected to disproportionately affect those from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background.
While no amount of money could compensate those of the Stolen Generation, the details of the scheme will hold the answers as to whether it properly addresses the traumas inflicted by the forced removal of Aboriginal children.
No doubt the designers of the scheme will look towards other state-run schemes for guidance.
In NSW, the Stolen Generation Reparations Scheme allows for ex gratia payments of $75,000 to living Stolen Generations survivors who were removed from their families and committed to care and provides one off payments of $7,000 to assist with cost of funerals. Personal apologies are also offered. The NSW scheme runs concurrently with the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse, and applicants can apply and receive payments from both schemes.
RCT’s Abuse law team are keenly aware of the challenges faced by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients in accessing justice and the significant trauma experienced, not only by the abuse children suffered while removed from their families, but also the impact the loss of cultural identity had, and continues to have, on those forcibly removed.
We have acted for many Stolen Generation clients over the years in seeking justice for abuse suffered as children. If you identify as a member of the Stolen Generation, it is important you receive sensitive and accurate advice about your legal rights before accepting any payments.
Our team is here to offer you advice in a culturally sensitive and informed manner. Should you wish to seek further advice please contact our Abuse law team on 1300 366 441.