• Fountain of Tears monument to the Stolen Generations in Adelaide's south. (SBS)Source: SBS
Stolen Generation members in South Australia are being invited to apply for compensation under the state's newly established reparations scheme launched Thursday.
By
Malarndirri McCarthy

Source:
NITV News
31 Mar 2016 - 7:11 PM  UPDATED 31 Mar 2016 - 7:11 PM

Cheryl Axelby, the CEO of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement in South Australia, is consulting with Port Augusta among other South Australian communities to inform how the state government will distribute funds under the Next Steps - Stolen Generations Reparation Scheme.

"There are a lot of mixed emotions," Ms Axelby says about the people she has interviewed.

"Government doesn't realise it brings up a lot of trauma. Elders have passed away since late last year when the announcement was first made." 

The Next Steps scheme is a $6 million fund for those members of South Australia's Stolen Generations removed from their families. It also offers a $5 million fund for whole-of-community reparations.

SA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher told NITV News that "around three hundred people" may apply to the scheme. 

The history of the Stolen Generations in South Australia dates back to the Aborigines Act of 1911 which extended the power of the 'protector' over all Aboriginal children under the age of 21, regardless of whether their parents were living or not.

These legislative powers increased in 1923, transferring control from the 'protector of Aborigines' to the State Children's Council, which resulted in Aboriginal children being made wards of the state without having to appear before a court.

Minister Kyam Maher says he has heard the stories of many members of the Stolen Generations and he says, "one of the things that continue to be impressed upon me is that while reparation is important, it's not the only thing."

Ms Axelby says the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement offers legal advice to Stolen Generations members about their options.

"We currently have up to one hundred people registered who have expressed interest in exploring the reparations scheme."

But she adds that "people will absolutely still want to pursue legal avenues. People will have a choice.”

Independent Assessor John Hill will be responsible for determining how much reparation, if any, will be provided to those who apply. 

Applications will take 12 months to be processed. Those wishing to apply can do so at here

NITV News is interested in following the story of those applicants who do apply. Please contact us Malarndirri.McCarthy@sbs.com.au or NITVOnline@sbs.com.au if you would like to share your story.

You can follow @malarndirri on Twitter.