‘Mum, why don’t you hug us?’: NSW Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme and Funeral Assistance Scheme
The NSW Government has set up the NSW Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme to make standard payments of $75,000 to living Stolen Generation survivors who were removed from their families and who were committed to the care of the NSW Aborigines Protection or Welfare Boards.
The Funeral Assistance Scheme has also been set up to make one-off payments of $7,000 to Stolen Generation survivors to assist with the costs of funerals.
The schemes opened on 1 July 2017 and will close on 30 June 2022.
Why have the schemes been set up?
In NSW, under the Aborigines Protection Act 1909, the Aborigines Protection Board (from 1909 to 1939) and its successor the Aborigines Welfare Board (from 1940 to 1969) had wide ranging control over the lives of Aboriginal people. The control included the power to forcibly remove Aboriginal children from their families and place them into the care of government and non-government homes, or foster or adopt the children out. This could be done without parental consent and without a court order.
On 23 June 2016, a NSW Parliamentary Committee released a report after hearing evidence of the barriers Stolen Generations survivors have faced in obtaining redress from the NSW State Government for their removal. In response to this report, the NSW Government decided to set up the schemes.
Can I apply?
You can apply to the Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme if:
- you were removed by, committed to or otherwise came into the care of the New South Wales Aborigines Protection or Welfare Boards under the Aborigines Protection Act 1909 (NSW);
- this happened to you before 20 March 1969, the date the Act stopped operating; and
- you are living.
You can also apply to the Funeral Assistance Scheme if you meet the above two requirements and you were living on 2 December 2016.
How do I apply?
To apply for the Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme, you will need to fill out an application form. At the same time, you can apply to the Funeral Assistance Scheme.
You can find further information on how to apply, including the guidelines for the schemes, here.
Do I need evidence?
When you make an application to the scheme, the scheme’s staff will search government records for evidence that you were removed by, committed to or otherwise came into the care of the New South Wales Aborigines Protection or Welfare Boards.
You do not need any other evidence.
Who decides how much should be paid to you?
Three Independent Assessors, who are Aboriginal people, have been appointed by the Governor of NSW to consider applications. The assessors are: Ms Anita Heiss, Ms Terri Janke and Mr Aden Ridgeway.
The Independent Assessors will consider your application and recommend to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs an amount to be paid to you. The Minister will then decide how much money should be paid to you.
What if I was a State ward or placed into the care of the NSW Child Welfare Department?
Before 20 March 1969, many Aboriginal children were also removed from their families under the Child Welfare Act 1939 (NSW).
If you are Aboriginal and you were removed from your family before 20 March 1969 by police or the NSW Child Welfare Department, you should still apply to the scheme. The scheme’s staff will attempt to find the evidence required for your application to be considered.
What if I experienced sexual, physical and/or emotional abuse as a child?
Many people experienced sexual, physical and emotional abuse while in the care of government and non-government homes and while in foster care. These people might be entitled to different compensation payments, regardless of what year the abuse happened.
Turner Freeman Lawyers can give you legal advice on your options. You can contact us.