Relationships Australia SA welcomes the State Government’s announcement to establish an $11 million Stolen Generations reparations fund.
The Next Steps – Stolen Generations Reparation Scheme will involve a fund of up to $6 million for ex gratia payments for those members of the state’s Aboriginal communities removed from their families, and whose usual place of residence was South Australia at the time of the separation.
Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister Kyam Maher says the reparations scheme is a significant step in South Australia’s reconciliation journey.
On Thursday 19 November the State Government launched a reparations scheme enabling them to compensate South Australian members of the Stolen Generations without the need for litigation, and taking into account the loss of documents, witnesses, and memories over time.
The scheme will also allow members of the Stolen Generations to tell their stories, which the 1997 Bringing Them Home report found was a critical part of the healing process.
Individual reparations will be recommended by an independent assessor. The assessor’s primary role will be to determine whether an applicant is eligible for an ex gratia payment, and if so, assess what level of harm has been caused. As part of the process, the assessor will be able to hear the personal stories of applicants, and speak with family members and people connected with the removal. Based on the assessor’s recommendations, the Minister will decide the amount of the payment. The scheme allows for payments of up to $50,000.
The reparations scheme will begin on March 31 next year, and the application process will remain open for 12 months.
The scheme also features a $5 million fund for whole-of-community reparations, which will be finalised in consultation with Aboriginal leaders and communities. Whole-of-community reparations might include places of memorial, education scholarships and programs, counselling and support services, and exhibitions telling the stories of the Stolen Generations.