• Steven Broome and his family. (Supplied.)Source: Supplied.
Descendants of stolen wages victims in Queensland describe the compensation they are estimated to receive as 'disheartening'.
Keira Jenkins

23 Nov 2020 - 9:39 PM  UPDATED 23 Nov 2020 - 9:45 PM

Descendants of stolen wages victims in Queensland say they are devastated by the low amounts compensation they have received from the Queensland government.

The state government settled a stolen wages class action in 2019 for $190 million. That money is being distributed to more than 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for wages that were earned, but never received between 1939 and 1972.

Steven Broome's parents waited decades for their wages and didn't see them in their lifetime. 

Mr Broome said he was "disgusted" with the amount that his family was offered for his parents' years of hard work.

"It was disheartening," he told NITV News.

"I thought it was very disrespectful on the government's part, claiming that they're going to give compensation for the stolen wages.

"I was very upset about it."

'Have us over a barrel'

Mr Broome is one of nine children.

He said he applied for the compensation for his father and his sister applied on behalf of his mother, and they plan to split the money between the family.

Mr Broome found that the entitlements his family would receive for his mother were less than what they thought they would be.

"For the amount of work that my mum told me she did - she scrubbed floors when she was 12, 13," he said.

"And she got paid no wages. She was taken to white people's houses to make sure their houses were clean.

"To hear my mum's stories and my dad's stories and to open that letter and to see how much was in there, it just really upset me."

Mr Broome said while he understands the amount is an estimate, he doesn't understand how the government came to the figure they did.

"The government have us over a barrel, us Aboriginal people," he said.

"And then they bring all this stuff up about algorithms and stuff so we just accept whatever money and just go on from there."

The appeals process closed on Monday, and Mr Broome said he encourages people to "fight to the end" for what is owed to their parents, grandparents or great-grandparents who had their wages stolen from them.

"It's money that they've earnt that was taken off them," he said.

"It shouldn't be taken off them again. Whatever they earned they should get wholeheartedly. The whole amount." 

Wage theft class action in WA likely to be mediated outcome: minister
A class action against the WA government over the theft of wages from Indigenous workers has generated more than 1600 signatures within 48 hours, as Minister Ben Wyatt says the government will seek resolution out of court.