• Members of Stolen Generations listen to Kevin Rudd's apology. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The federal government says there is no Indigenous affairs funding available for Labor's proposed compensation scheme.
17 Aug 2018 - 4:34 PM  UPDATED 17 Aug 2018 - 4:41 PM

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has dismissed Labor's plan to compensate members of the Stolen Generations as policy 'done on the run of the back of beer coaster'.

"This is Labor’s old trick of throwing money at a problem and hope it goes away," he told NITV News. 

Under Labor's plan, payments of up $75,000 would be paid to each surviving member as well as a one-off payment of $7000 to cover funeral costs. 

It also promises a $10 million National Healing Fund to be administered by the Healing Foundation, for programs that assist Stolen Generations and their descendants nationwide.

But Mr Scullion was sceptical. 

"Labor needs to explain where this money will come from and explain what areas of Indigenous affairs they will cut to pay for this new commitment," he said.  

Mr Scullion said Labor's plan to expand its compensation policy to the 17,000 surviving members at $75,000 each will cost almost $1.3 billion. 

"And will compensate people that have already been compensated under relevant state schemes," he said. 

New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia have redress schemes in place. 

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But Labor's Pat Dodson said state schemes are 'no real excuse' for not having a nationwide policy. 

"This is a national disgrace," he told NITV News. 

"Either party, or all parties, should be looking at reconciling in practical ways with First Nations peoples, particularly those who've been subject to those draconian laws perpetrated by governments." 

Senator Dodson said, despite Labor's commitment, no amount of money can compensate the trauma and loss experienced by survivors. 

"This has been a terrible blight on Australian history," he said.

"The Commonwealth government and its leadership has got to play a very serious role in going forward." 

It comes as a new report revealed there are approximately 17,000 members of the Stolen Generations alive today with many still battling the repercussions of being stolen. 

Of these, more than half live with a disability or chronic health condition, 70 per cent rely on welfare and are more than three times as likely to have been jailed in the last five years compared to other Indigenous Australians. 

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Calls for a national redress scheme comes a decade after the National Apology to the Stolen Generations and more than 20 years since the landmark Bringing Them Home report. 

Following a national inquiry, the report revealed damning evidence of historical forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. It called for a national apology and compensation for survivors. 

To date, the Turnbull government has made no firm commitment to compensate members of the Stolen Generations, despite moving swiftly to the final report into the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses To Child Sexual Abuse. 

Social Services Minister Christian Porter announced in November last year a national opt-in scheme to compensate victims of child sexual abuse with payments of up $150,000.

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