Throughout Reparations consultations with Stolen Generations across Victoria, it was consistently requested that Stolen Generations Reparations act with expediency due to the age and ill health of many Stolen Generations. As such the following is recommended.
The Steering Committee recommends that terminally or critically ill Stolen Generations applicants are provided with an interim payment of $20,000 upon application.
The interim payments are recommended to be funded from the existing $10 million allocated to Stolen Generations Reparations in 2020 to ensure expediency in making these payments.
The application to Reparations in this instance is to include a letter of confirmation from a health or aged care practitioner to confirm the terminal or critical of ill health of the applicant. Critically ill applicants are to include those who have been diagnosed with Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or the onset of either. As noted at recommendation 33 in 4.11 Support Services for Applicants, from the time of application these applicants are to have access to legal support to establish power of attorney and develop a will where required.
Past Redress or Reparations packages have provided interim payments to elderly or ill applicants prior to a full assessment of eligibility, further information is provided at Appendix 3. For Stolen Generations Reparations Victoria, it is recommended that a basic threshold of eligibility be met before processing an interim payment, for example based on the applicants date of birth the person was certainly removed prior to 1976. It is recommended that the full assessment of these applications is made a priority to ensure the remaining reparations payment can be urgently paid to the eligible applicants.
Interim Funeral Fund
As an interim measure the Steering Committee recommended the establishment of a Stolen Generations Reparations Interim Funeral Fund for Stolen Generations who passed away between 1 January 2021 and the commencement of Stolen Generations Reparations to ensure that they were able to receive some measure of Reparations.
The Interim Funeral Fund was established in March 2021 and makes payments of up to $10,000 to cover funerals, plaques and/or repatriation of deceased Stolen Generations and is administered by Connecting Home. At the time of this report (18 June 2021) 4 applications were received for the funeral fund, 3 were found eligible and 1 was found ineligible.