Stolen wages built the state of Queensland

This morning I went along to the Brisbane stolen wages consultation at the Queensland Council of Trade Unions. I went with SistahG. During the Beattie years, the government decided to put aside $56 million as a compensation payment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

All but $21 million of that amount was distributed. The remainder amount was put aside into a foundation for an education scholarship program. This decision was made by cabinet without the consultation with the Aboriginal community. One of the Palaszczuk government’s election promises was creation of a task force led by the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to make recommendations to distribute the remainder of the $21 million.

Today was a reminder of the pain and trauma of how stolen wages, as well as a reminder at how inadequate the original $56 million arrangement was. It’s my believe that the figure should be more around $500 million.

I will write later in more detail about the details of stolen wages. But for today, just reflecting on the multigenerational impact of stolen wages, I feel angry and hopeless. While $21 million seems like a lot of money. After all the decisions are made, each claimant will be lucky to get more than $3000 each. $3000 for the decades of lost opportunity is unjust to say the least.

One thought on “Stolen wages built the state of Queensland”

  1. I know this is bigger than I can say or ever think. But, on a high note two of the chalkface workers have a QATSIF Scholarship and I went to the awards ceremony. It was great. The recipients have KPIs to meet and the pair will do a lot with this – possibly more than they could have. Pretty chuffed.
    I can understand you would feel drained after that forum. We have just finished a term unit in Year English analysing relevant texts – one little worker did hers and I cried. I announced, 'okay, well done – I am crying' to the class. No-one breathed a word. It was quite a moment.

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