Hundreds of #Indigenous people will miss out as W #Australia Govt refuses to extend Stolen Wages Scheme


Robin Chapple MLC

Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region

MEDIA RELEASE

Hundreds will miss out as Government refuses to extend Stolen Wages Scheme

Tuesday 27th November 2012

Greens Member of Parliament Robin Chapple MLC has lashed out at the Barnett/Grylls Government’s refusal to extend the deadline of the Stolen Wages Reparation Scheme, accusing the Premier and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Peter Collier of being unjust, unfair and mean-spirited.

“The WA Government is very good at paying lip service to the needs of Aboriginal people but puts its head firmly in the sand when it comes time to follow through with practical assistance,” Mr Chapple said.

“The $2,000 payment to compensate Indigenous workers who had their wages held in trust by successive state governments until the 1970s is paltry enough.

“But to deny people even that tiny sum by closing the scheme just 9 months after it was announced is nothing short of malevolent.

“Compare the situation in this ‘boom’ state with Queensland and New South Wales, where similar schemes ran for four and five years respectively.

“Mr Barnett has got his priorities seriously wrong when he spends millions of dollars on a glitzy harbor development in downtown Perth while he short-changes Aboriginal people their entitlements.

“Not only does the deadline for the current scheme need to be extended, reparation should also be offered to Aboriginal station workers—the backbone of the pastoral industry for many decades—whose wages were withheld before the legislation changed in the 1970s.

“I take no comfort from Mr Collier’s mollifying words of ‘understanding’ and ‘sympathy’ for Aboriginal people who miss out on compensation or ex gratia payments, nor his assurances that the Government strives to work towards reconciliation.

“And I cannot forgive him for acknowledging that previous discriminatory legislation has led to considerable disadvantage and disharmony for Aboriginal people, while refusing to share more than the crumbs from his table.

“The current closing date for the Stolen Wages Reparation Scheme is 30th November 2012. The Aboriginal Legal Service of WA is asking for an extension to March 2017, to bring WA into line with other states, and I am supporting that call.”

For more information please contact Robin Chapple on 9486 8255

All the best

Robin Chapple MLC

Member for the Mining and Pastoral Region

PO Box 94, West Perth WA 6872

41 Havelock Street, West Perth. WA 6005

Phone: Robin.Chapple | Freecall: 1800 138 610 | WEB: http://robinchapple.com/

Our office provides a facility for members of the public to ask their own Parliamentary Questions through my website at http://www.robinchapple.com/ask-question. Questions on Notice are preferred, instructions and templates are provided.

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