The Queensland State Government’s $21 million Reparations Scheme acknowledges past injustices towards Indigenous Queenslanders whose wages and savings were controlled under previous governments’ ‘Protection Acts’.
Since being established in December 2015, thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders have accessed the scheme and received reparations payments. The department is continuing to assist applicants and family members to finalise claims under the scheme.
In July 2016, the Queensland Government established the state’s first dedicated Reparations Review Panel to help applicants without formal documentation access the scheme by considering oral history as evidence.
The Queensland Government’s 2017-2018 budget has also delivered additional support to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders can continue to access culturally-appropriate services for historical, community and personal information.
Applications for the reparations scheme closed on 29 September 2017. Applications will continue to be assessed until June 2018.
The Queensland Government appointed a Reparations Taskforce to make recommendations about distribution of these funds. The taskforce’s recommendations report was released on 26 May 2016.
The Reparations Taskforce Report: Reconciling Past Injustice is available on the reparations website.
Queensland Government’s response to the recommendations
On the same day, 26 May 2016, the Queensland Government released their response to the taskforce recommendations report. A key recommendation of the Queensland Government’s report was to close the Aborigines Welfare Fund, as a gesture of reconciliation to finalise this chapter of Queensland’s history.
The report also confirmed the Queensland Government’s intention to publically acknowledge the financial contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples towards the development of key Queensland infrastructure. This public acknowledgement will include monuments, plaques and other lasting forms of appropriate public acknowledgement, to highlight the use of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders’ wages in helping to build this state.
The Queensland Government has also agreed to other taskforce recommendations, including:
- establishing a Reparations Review Panel to enable consideration of previously ineligible applications, to ensure as many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders as possible have access to the Reparation Scheme, to seek justice for past wrongs
- funding scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to document the experiences and perspectives of government control of wages and savings under the ‘Protections Acts’, for their respective cultures.