Submission to the Queensland Government consultation on the new Stolen Wages Reparations Scheme

The Queensland Government is conducting a consultation regarding re-opening the Queensland Stolen Wages reparations scheme, as promised in the lead up to the 2015 election. Following the widely criticised Indigenous Wages and Savings Reparations Scheme in 2002, the Government has established a Special Taskforce to consult on how the new scheme should operate, specifically considering the eligibility criteria for the new Reparations Scheme, how payments should be made and how applications should be assessed. Based on its experience of the Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme in NSW, PIAC’s submission makes a number of recommendations of how the new scheme should operate. PIAC’s recommendations include : broad eligibility criterion should be adopted, taking into its scope living descendants; oral as well as written evidence be relied upon in determining claims for underpaid or withheld wages; previous indemnities given to the Queensland government under the previous scheme be disregarded; independent legal support and assistance should be provided to claimants; and that all decision making be transparent.

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