The State Liberals’ Stolen Generation Compensation Bill was introduced in Parliament yesterday. If successful, the Bill will provide ex-gratia financial compensation to eligible members of the stolen generation.
This would make South Australia the first mainland state to formally pay compensation to eligible members of the stolen generation.
However, the proposed legislation does more than just providing financial compensation; it also acknowledges that the policies of past governments caused emotional, physical and cultural harm to members of the stolen generation and their families.
This would place South Australia at the forefront of reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.
In 2013, the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee tabled a report in Parliament that found the South Australian Government could implement an ex-gratia reparations program based on the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal Children Act 2006 in Tasmania.
It is estimated that approximately 300 people would be eligible for ex-gratia payments in South Australia.
“This legislation is an important and significant component of ongoing reconciliation with Aboriginal people in South Australia,” said State Liberal Leader Steven Marshall.
“Addressing the wrongs of the past will allow South Australia to move forward.
“This legislation has been widely called for by notable Aboriginal organisations, including the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement and Reconciliation SA.
“I have had a long-standing commitment to reconciliation in South Australia, having been a Board Member of Reconciliation SA for four years and having visited the APY Lands communities every year since being elected to Parliament.
“This legislation is a fundamental step forward in the ongoing reconciliation process.
“This is a bipartisan issue and I am hopeful that the Weatherill Labor Government will support this initiative.
“It is important that we continue to make gains in this area and continue to work to improve the welfare of Aboriginal People.”