Stolen Wages repaid after 70 years in trust

Something stopped the NSW Government from paying back money it took from
the earnings of Aboriginal workers for 70 years, the Sydney Morning Herald‘s Debra Jopson
reported in March 2004.

At the turn of the millennium, one government department in NSW was
determined to end decades of stonewalling about the money tucked away in state
coffers during the welfare era. It was going to try to pay back $69 million to
as many as 11,500 Indigenous Australians.

‘How this bold attempt got derailed is a mystery. But there are clues in
new documents unearthed by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, using Freedom
of Information laws.’

PIAC’s work with
Indigenous communities led to the investigation of claims by clients who were
denied access to wages, allowances and pensions held in trust by the
NSW Government.

In 2004, the Government established the Aboriginal Trust
Fund Repayment Scheme to assess claims and pay Aboriginal people and their
descendants the money owed to them. PIAC and a number of law firms have
helped Aboriginal people access money owed to them under this scheme.

Return to Celebrating 30 years of public interest advocacy

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Photo: Flickr

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