NSW Government needs to advertise Stolen Wages deadline

The Pubic Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Acting Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Hon Kevin Greene that the closing date for applications to the Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme (ATFRS) has been extended to 31 May 2009.

Senior Solicitor with the Indigenous Justice Program Keppie Waters said, ‘It is satisfying that the Government has extended the deadline for applications. PIAC has found, after speaking with Aboriginal communities from around the state, that many potential claimants were unaware of ATFRS, or the deadline. This extension gives us a chance to ensure we can contact as many people as possible and let them know that they may have a claim.’

‘However, to be really effective in getting the word out, Government must make a commitment to advertise ATFRS and the deadline as widely as possible. ATFRS doesn’t advertise and PIAC is doing its best through its networks to tell people what’s going on, but if the Government is serious about ensuring Indigenous people receive justice then it should help promote its own scheme.’

ATFRS aims to repay Aboriginal people who were not paid wages, pensions, family endowments, inheritances and lump sum compensation payments that were held in trust funds administered by the Aborigines Protection Board and the Aborigines Welfare Board between 1960 and 1969. This is money often referred to as Stolen Wages.

The Government has said ATFRS will continue to operate until 30 June 2010.

To contact the Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme call 1800 765 889

To contact Keppie Waters call 02 8898 6527.

To contact PIAC CEO Robin Banks call 02 8898 6508 or 0423 100 807

MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,

Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169

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