Cherbourg Mayor: This money won't cover our stolen wages
MONEY set aside to repay Aboriginal workers who had part or all of their wages is too little, too late, according to Cherbourg Mayor Ken Bone.
A meeting was held in Cherbourg on Tuesday to show residents how to apply for reparations under the State Government Stolen Wages Reparations Scheme.
The program offers indigenous workers a lump sum payment to compensate for lost or stolen wages up until the 1970s.
New claimants can receive between $9200 and $4600, figures Cr Bone says are too low.
"The government is telling us take it or leave it," Cr Bone said.
"It's not a lot of money, but it is a bit of money."
In his younger days, Cr Bone worked in labour- intensive positions around Cherbourg and said he was one of many who were not paid the proper amount for their work.
"The workers didn't see that money; the government confiscated it," he said.
The State Government has allocated $21million for the scheme, with applications open until December 16.
Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Partnerships Curtis Pitt said many Cherbourg residents would be eligible for payments.
"I wrote letters to more than 100 Cherbourg residents, notifying them of their eligibility to receive a reparations payment under the scheme," Mr Pitt said.
"It is critical to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in geographically isolated communities such as Cherbourg are not disadvantaged and have the same level of service as those near major towns."
To learn more about the scheme head to www.qld. gov.au/reparations.