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Stolen wages taskforce a win for WA Aboriginals.



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SENATOR RACHEL SIEWERT

Australian Greens Senator for Western Australia

Stolen Wages taskforce a win for WA Aboriginals

31st May 07

The Greens have welcomed the announcement by the WA Government that it

will establish a taskforce to investigate wages and Commonwealth benefits

stolen from Aboriginal people, having pushed hard for the state to act on the

findings of a Senate inquiry.

"The Senate inquiry found ample evidence of monies being withheld, monies

diverted in WA to missions and station coffers, and widespread rorting of trust

funds by trustees," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"I am concerned by the announced timeframe because many of the people

affected are now elderly and another year of delay will see more of them

passing away before seeing justice done," she said.

"WA Indigenous Affairs Minister Michelle Roberts needs to push the pace and

start talking reparations immediately."

"The Commonwealth also has an obligation to help by digging into its records

and helping resource inquiries because it was responsible for suggesting the

state to only pay 'pocket money' of about a quarter of its child endowment

and pension monies," she said.

"The West Australian economy was built on the back of the unpaid and under-paid labour of our Aboriginal people," said Senator Siewert.

"They were systematically excluded from the benefits of the wealth they

created."