A Labor Government will establish a special fund to address the longstanding historical issue of the need for compensation for the wages stolen from Indigenous Queenslanders.
Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Curtis Pitt, said for almost 70 years from 1904 the hard-earned wages and savings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers were forcibly controlled by successive state governments.
“This meant that workers, some as young as 10 were barred from accessing basic entitlements and earnings all workers take for granted,” Mr Pitt said.
“This is a legacy of discrimination against past generations that the current generation must resolve.
“Action was taken by recent Labor Governments to right the wrongs of past governments.
“But more must be done to bring the matter to conclusion.”
Mr Pitt said the next Labor Government would establish a fund of up to $21 million to help reasonably compensate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders affected by those discriminatory policies of the past.
He said Labor would establish a special task force of stakeholders to develop the criteria for the allocation of funds as well as assess applications.
“I know we will never erase the hurt and sorrow caused in the past, but it is a genuine attempt to recognise injustice and to do what we can to right a wrong,” he said.
Mr Pitt said Labor was responding to the legitimate concerns of Indigenous communities.
“A significant number of Elders right across Queensland, from Brisbane, Cherbourg, Stradbroke Island, Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns and Mackay have expressed their concerns and are seeking to ensure that any legitimate claims are finally dealt with,” he said.