Australia to establish $280 million reparations fund for 'Stolen Generation'


FILE PHOTO: Members of the Australian Aboriginal community of Ramingining can be seen near their homes in East Arnhem Land, located east of the Northern Territory city of Darwin, Australia November 24, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia will create a A$380 million ($280 million) reparations fund for members of its Indigenous population who were forcibly removed from families, Australian media reported on Thursday, months after 800 survivors filed a class action lawsuit.

Under the compensation scheme, eligible survivors will receive a one-off A$75,000 payment for the harm caused by their forced removal, plus a further A$7000 to support their healing, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said in a report.

The programme will be announced on Thursday by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt as part of a A$1 billion boost to measures to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, the report said.

The reparations will cover people who were under 18 and removed from their families while living in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory prior to the granting of self-government, as well as the Jervis Bay territory near New South Wales.

More than 100,000 Aboriginal children were removed from their families and communities, and in 2008 then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd led a landmark parliamentary apology to members of the so-called Stolen Generation.

In April, 800 survivors in the Northern Territory launched a class action against the federal government in the New South Wales Supreme Court seeking compensation, covering a period ranging from 1910 to the 1970s.

The offices of the prime minister and Indigenous Australians minister did not immediately respond to request seeking comment.

Australia's 700,000 Indigenous people track near the bottom of its near 26 million citizens in almost every economic and social indicator.

The life expectancy of Indigenous Australians is eight years shorter than for non-Indigenous people and they are over-represented in prison, government statistics show.

($1 = 1.3554 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Karishma Singh)

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