The Morrison government will provide $378.6 million for a new redress scheme for Stolen Generation survivors as part of more than $1 billion for its Closing the Gap implementation plan.
The one-off payments will go to living survivors of the Stolen Generation who were removed as children from their families in the Northern Territory and ACT, which were administered by the Commonwealth at the time, and Jervis Bay Territory. The states are responsible for their own arrangements.
Under the Territories Stolen Generations Reparation Scheme eligible people will be entitled to a payment of $75,000 “in recognition of the harm caused by forced removal” from families, and a $7000 “healing assistance payment … in recognition that the action to facilitate healing will be specific to each individual”.
Survivors will also have the opportunity, if they wish, to confidentially tell the story of the effect of their experience to a senior official, and receive a face-to-face or written apology “for their removal and resulting trauma.”
Applications will open on March 1 and the program will run until June 2026.
Scott Morrison said he was delivering practical action on a long-standing issue that was nationally important. It would improve the health and wellbeing of Stolen Generation survivors and their families and communities, he said.
The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, said it “reflects the government’s commitment to recognise and acknowledge the wrongs of the past as part of the nation’s journey to reconciliation”.
Wyatt said supporting intergenerational healing was key to the government’s commitment to Closing the Gap.
The government, with Indigenous leaders, previously re-worked the Closing the Gap program, originally set up under Labor.
The implementation plan also includes an additional $254.4 million towards infrastructure for Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations.
There will be $160 million to help give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children “the best start in life” through initiatives such as the Healthy Mums and Healthy Bubs program, the Community Child Care Fund, the Connected Beginnings Program and the Early Years Education Program.
Beginning next year the federal government will produce an annual report on progress to deliver on its plan.
In addition, funding will be provided to Aboriginal community-controlled organisations to assist families resolve post-separation parenting and property disputes. Support will be also provided to these organisations to increase involvement in Indigenous family support services.