Sydney, Australia, Aug 5 (EFE).- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Thursday a compensation scheme for thousands of survivors of the so-called Stolen Generations, those who as children were forcibly separated from their indigenous families as part of the official assimilation policy between 1910 and 1970.
The government will give up to AU$82,000 ($60,600) to those eligible in the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory and Jervis Bay (New South Wales), a measure that will add to the compensation schemes offered by the other states and territories of the country.
The financial and wellbeing redress scheme totals AU$378.6 million.
“What happened is a shameful chapter in our national story,” Morrison told parliament, announcing the implementation of a plan to end the disadvantages and discrimination suffered by the indigenous population, who represent 3.3 percent of the more than 25 million people in Australia.
The compensation is one of the most important official gestures since former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd apologized in 2008 to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the nation.
“This announcement reflects the Government’s commitment to recognize and acknowledge the wrongs of the past as part of the nation’s journey to reconciliation, and this scheme represents a major step forward towards healing,” said Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt in a joint statement with Morrison.
Those compensated, a number that will total around 3,600 survivors, will also have the opportunity to tell their story about the impact these practices had on their lives to a senior government official and receive an in-person or written apology.
An estimated 100,000 indigenous Australian children were separated from their families between 1910 and 1970 and turned over for education to caucasian families or institutions as part of the White Australia policy that sought to assimilate minorities.
Australia’s first nations peoples have been victims of mistreatment since colonization, as well as being dispossessed of their land and systematically discriminated against. Many of them live in poverty and ongoing inequality.
The constitution, which dates back to 1901, does not mention or recognize Aboriginals or Torres Strait Islanders as the first inhabitants of the country, although in recent years a civil movement has grown to recognize their natural rights. EFE