The Queensland Stolen Wages Reparations Scheme Taskforce kicked off consultations with Indigenous communities on Thursday to determine how to distribute a $21-million fund to those who had their wages stolen by the state in the 20th Century.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda, who will lead the 12-member taskforce, told media that the body would consult with communities, individuals and families about two matters: "who should be eligible for payments and how the payments should be allocated".
Indigenous Queenslanders had their salaries taken or controlled by state authorities, including managers of missions, from 1904 until the 1970s.
Curtis Pitt, the Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, said that the stealing of wages by past state governments was "shameful".
"We established this $21-million fund to compensate Indigenous Queenslanders who had their wages stolen by previous state governments," Mr Pitt said in a media statement in September.
"This is a legacy of discrimination against past generations that the current generation must resolve," he told NITV in May.
The 12-member taskforce will conduct consultations with communities in the Torres Strait and Cairns in far north Queensland region, Townsville in north Queensland, Mackay in central Queensland, and Brisbane.
Mr Gooda said that the taskforce wanted feedback about scheme’s eligibility and assessment criteria.
"Submissions can be made in person or in writing and all feedback will help the taskforce to decide what recommendations to put to the minister later this year."
The Queensland Stolen Wages Reparations Scheme Taskforce
- Pauline Ah Wang
- Ray Sambo
- Morris Cloudy
- Gail Barry
- Rosaline Bourne
- Panela Hegarty
- Vivienne Schwartz
- Thomas Sebasio
- Viola Sheridan
- John Anderson
- Marshall Saunders
Submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or Stolen Wages Reparations Taskforce, PO Box 15397, City East, Brisbane, QLD, 4002.
Submissions close 30 October 2015.