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Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme closes soon – help to apply

In this Q&A, Maureen Randall from Redfern Legal Centre encourages First Nations Elders who may be eligible for ex-gratia payments under the Stolen Generations Reparation Scheme to talk to her soon because time is running out.  

Why should people who could be eligible for the scheme but have not yet applied come forward now to seek help from Redfern Legal Centre?

The Stolen Generations Reparations Scheme is open to all survivors of the Stolen Generations who were removed by, committed to, or otherwise came into the care of the New South Wales Aborigines Protection or Welfare Boards before June 2, 1969.

You have until June 30, 2022 to apply.

We strongly encourage any First Nations people who are members of the Stolen Generations who have not previously applied for the scheme to do so. Once the scheme closes there will not be another opportunity to apply.

Redfern Legal Centre delivers a friendly and accessible service to First Nations People. We work hard to address barriers that may prevent First Nations people from accessing legal assistance or applying to the Stolen Generation Reparations Scheme. First Nations People can speak with us directly by phone or email about the Scheme or about other legal concerns they may have.

Accessing our service is free. Your enquiry will be kept confidential, and if you are eligible for the Scheme we will help you to lodge your application. If you have any additional support needs, do not hesitate to let us know.

Is the funeral payment aspect of the scheme an additional $7,000 payment, and are you also helping people to apply for this?

The Funeral Assistance Fund provides a one-off payment for survivors who meet the eligibility requirement. This is an additional payment, and if you are eligible, Redfern Legal Centre will help you apply to ensure that the Funeral Fund component of your entitlements will be included.

How much easier will getting help from RLC make the application process?

We know there are many barriers that prevent First Nations people from coming forward. Many survivors of the Stolen Generations find it traumatic and painful to retell and relive the horrors of their childhood. Children and babies were forcibly removed from their families and grew up in brutal and uncompassionate institutions.

Children of the Stolen Generations were victims of systemic racism and many were sexually, physically and emotionally abused, and allocated to homes to serve as cheap labour.

As the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Access Worker, and proud Koori woman, I work with members of the Aboriginal community every day. I am experienced in handling inquiries in a way that is sensitive and culturally safe. I encourage all Stolen Generations survivors who have not yet lodged an application for the scheme to reach out to me, because time is running out. You can contact me on 0407 205 201 or email: maureen@rlc.org.au.  

Given that this payment is made in recognition of the harm that the removals caused, how can you reassure people that RLC staff will offer their professional help with sensitivity and compassion?

Redfern Legal Centre prides itself on providing a culturally safe environment for our First Nations clients, and has the experience and expertise of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Access Worker and other First Nations staff on our team. The Chair of the RLC Board is also a proud Koori man. Last year, more than a third of RLC’s casework supported First Nations people.

Providing legal advice in a way that is sensitive and culturally appropriate is our top priority. We do everything we can to ensure all our clients are treated with compassion and respect – and this includes First Nations people.

Time is running out to apply for reparation – how can people in the community help get the word out to others who could be eligible?

It’s really important to spread the word among friends and family about the scheme and about organisations that can assist people to apply, like Redfern Legal Centre. You could put our poster up about the scheme in your local community, put a post on your social media, send text messages, talk to friends and family at sporting events, Koori Knock Out, weddings and funerals or find other ways to use the Koori grapevine.

Simply having a chat to your mob about this opportunity could make a huge difference in the lives of you and your community.

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Maureen Randall is Redfern Legal Centre’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Access Worker.

 

 

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