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Australia to pay $380 million to 'Stolen Generation'

August 5, 2021

Australia will pay reparations to Indigenous children who were forcibly taken away from their families in the 1900s. A series of other measures were announced for closing the gap for the "Stolen Generation."

Children hold an Indigenous flag at a rally in Sydney
Reparations were one of several steps announced to improve the lives of Australia's Indigenous peopleImage: Mick Tsikas/AAP/imago images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a reparations fund of AUD$380 million (Є237 million, $280 million) among other measures on Thursday for members of the country's Indigenous population, including reparations for children who were forcibly removed from their families. 

"What happened is a shameful chapter in our national story," Morrison told parliament about the so-called "Stolen Generation." This is the first such compensation of its kind in Australia. 

The announcement came months after 800 Indigenous survivors filed a class-action lawsuit against the federal government. Under the new "Closing the Gap" plan, the Australian government has announced a series of measures to improve education, life expectancy, preservation of languages and other issues, reported The Sydney Morning Herald

"The Closing the Gap partnership reflects a new model of working together, where all governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders with an increased level of accountability, transparency and responsibility between all parties," tweeted Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt.

Reparations for forced removal

Eligible survivors will receive a one-off payment of $75,000 for the harm caused by their forced removal, with an additional $7,000 for their healing. This compensation is the biggest component of the package aimed at improving living standards for the Indigenous people. 

"It will never replace growing up with family, you can never replace that. I hope this will give some relief to the survivors of the Stolen Generations," Pat Turner, the Northern Territory-based Indigenous chief executive officer of the National Aboriginal Community-Controlled Health Organisation told the AP news agency.

The reparation covers people who were under 18 and taken away from their families during 1910 to the 1970s from the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory, and the Jervis Bay territory near New South Wales.

In 2008, then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had issued an apology to the members of the stolen generation. "The injustices of the past must never happen again," he said. 

Australia's Indigenous people are at the bottom of most of the nation's social and economic indicators. They make up for 3% of the population and have poorer health, lower life expectancy, and lower education levels compared to other ethnic groups.  

tg/sms (AFP, Reuters)