The Queensland government has opened its compensation scheme for Indigenous people whose wages were stolen, it announced on Friday.
Indigenous Queenslanders who had their wages denied by the Queensland government through the 20th century can now apply for compensation.
Curtis Pitt, the treasurer and minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, told media the state government wanted the $21 million reparations scheme to provide healing for Indigenous Queenslanders who had their salaries taken or controlled by state authorities, including managers of missions, from 1904 until the 1970s.
“No amount of money can repair the injustices of the past,” Mr Pitt said.
“Our reparations scheme is about acknowledging the historical injustices of the past for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders whose wages and savings were controlled under former government policies.”
New eligible claimants born before 1952 are to receive reparations of $9,200 and $4,600 if born between 1 January 1952 and 31 December 1959.
Previously successful claimants born before 1952 can receive $2,200 and $1,100 if born between 1 January 1952 and 31 December 1959.
The ALP state government set up the fund in May. In September a 12-member stolen wages reparations taskforce, headed by Indigenous Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda, began consultations around the state to determine how best to distribute the fund.
Consultations were conducted in areas such as the Torres Strait and Cairns, far north Queensland, Townsville in north Queensland, Mackay, central Queensland, and Brisbane.
Payments will begin in early 2016 and the scheme will be open over three years.
The government told NITV in May it was willing to be consider reparation for descendants of those who were eligible but who had since passed.
Those affected can begin the compensation process here.