Note : applications for this scheme closed on 30 November 2012.
What is the Stolen Wages Reparation Scheme WA?
In March 2012 the West Australian government announced a scheme to make amends to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people whose wages were withheld by past governments and never repaid. Under the scheme successful applicants will receive an ex gratia payment of up to $2000. Ex gratia payment means the payment is made without recognising any liability or obligation.
What is "Stolen Wages"?
Under past WA legislation such as the Aborigines Act 1905 and the Native Welfare Act 1963, employers, including the State Government, held money and property belonging to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a network of trust accounts.
The Stolen Wages Taskforce was set up in 2007 in an attempt to work out which individuals who had their legitimate earnings, pension entitlements and other property held in trust and not returned, and the value of these entitlements.
An ex gratia payment under this scheme is not intended to fully make amends for Stolen Wages.
Who could apply to the Stolen Wages Reparation Scheme WA?
The scheme was open to living Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people who :
- Were born before 1958;
- From the age of 14 years or older lived at one or more Government Native Welfare Settlements in Western Australia;
- While living at one or more of the Government Native Welfare Settlements in Western Australia experienced direct Western Australian Government control over their income and all or part of their income was withheld from them; and
- Were never repaid the monies owed by the Western Australian Government.
Were there time limits to apply?
Yes. You needed to complete and Application and Declaration for Stolen Wages Reparation Scheme WA form and lodge the application with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DIA) before 5:00pm (Perth, Western Australia) on 30 November 2012.
Do I give up my rights to full compensation for my Stolen Wages in WA if I accept an ex gratia payment from this scheme?
Accepting an ex gratia payment from this scheme does not mean you give up your legal rights to seek full reimbursement or compensation for Stolen Wages in WA.
Can I complain about the amount of the ex gratia payment I receive?
No you cannot make a complaint about the amount you receive for the ex gratia payment.
A complaint can be made only on the grounds:
- an error of process occurred; and/or
- an error of fact was made.
You can make a complaint to the Stolen Wages Reparation Scheme WA Complaints Manager who will manage the Compliant according to the scheme's Complaints Internal Policy and Procedures Guidelines. Details about this are in the Application Pack.
Will any payment under the Stolen Wages Reparation Scheme WA affect my eligibility for social security payments?
The Commonwealth government has decided that a one-off lump sum ex gratia payment of $2,000 under this Scheme will be exempt from the income test under social security law. This means the payment will not be
considered as income when assessing your eligibility for, and the payability of, a social security payment.
Where can I get more information?
- Contact Legal Aid WA's InfoLine on 1300 650 579 for information and assistance
- Contact the Aboriginal Legal Service WA infoline on 1800 019 900 (freecall) for information and assistance
- Your local community legal centre may be able to assist. To find the one nearest you go to this website http://www.communitylaw.net/CLC-Directory/
- Contact the Department of Aboriginal Affairs on 1800 441 570 (freecall) or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the DIA website for more information including FAQs and to read the Report of the Stolen Wages Taskforce.
Last reviewed : 14/03/2013