4.8 Assessment of applications

The following recommendations details the assessment process to find applicants to Stolen Generations Reparations eligible or ineligible.

Recommendation 28

It is recommended that all assessments be prioritised based on age and health of applicants and that assessments are generally streamlined to ensure expedient outcomes for all applicants.

For example, any Stolen Generations applicant over the age of 60 and/or who is terminally ill would be in the highest priority category.

Recommendation 29

The Steering Committee recommends that an independent assessment panel of six people, including a Stolen Generations position as chair, be established to assess and review appealed Stolen Generations Reparations claims.

It is recommended by the Steering Committee that the independent assessment panel assess claims based on a summary of evidence provided by the Departmental Reparations Unit. It is recommended that assessment consider the guiding principles (1) and (2) noted above to ensure that the scheme is trauma informed, streamlined, and within the eligibility recommendations.

It is recommended that assessment process be guided by the following:

  1. Departmental Reparations Unit complete a research summary of records available about the applicants separation including year of removal, length of time in care and state of removal, based on above eligibility and low threshold of evidence recommendations.
  2. Departmental Reparations Unit provide the research summary to applicant to ensure the summary is accurate and to include any additional information not provided by the records. It is recommended that access to counselling and disability support is offered to assist with understanding the research summary. This research summary should be provided as part of recommendation 11, 3.3 Reparations – Measures of Restitution once an applicant is found eligible.
  3. Departmental Reparations Unit provide research summaries to groups of three panel members for assessment and to ensure the below review process, detailed in 4.10 Review and appeals, can be fulfilled.
  4. If an applicant is found eligible they are to be provided with a letter or verbal information that offers the payment and associated support, as detailed in 4.9 Administration of Payments, an apology as at recommendation 8, 3.2 Reparations – Apology, access to a copy of personal records as at recommendation 11, 3.3 Reparations – Measures of Restitution, post reunion programs as at recommendation 10, 3.3 Reparations – Measures of Restitution, and the opportunity to record their story as at recommendation 40, 5.3 Reparations – Measures of Rehabilitation.
  5. If an applicant is found ineligible they are to be provided with a letter or verbal information about the review process as outlined in 4.10 Review and appeals.

The assessment panel is recommended to be majority Aboriginal people, have an appropriate gender balance and disability representation. It is recommended that members have a thorough understanding of Stolen Generations history and experiences, experience in decision making on complex matters, they may be distinguished in matters such as public administration, policy development or advocacy, law, state or national redress schemes. It is recommended that comprehensive conflict of interest and privacy policies are established to support an unbiased and confidential assessment process.

The Bringing Them Home Report also recommended that any applications for monetary reparations include independent decision making which should include Aboriginal people.202

End notes

202 Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1997, Bringing Them Home Report