federal budget indigenous

This week it was announced that the Queensland government would pay $190 million in stolen wages to about 10,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who had their pay given to the state under the historical so-called "protection" acts.

This brings to an end a huge class-action lawsuit that was initiated against the Queensland government in mid 2017. It netted less than half of what many historians estimate was owed but, just as significantly, saved elderly claimants a long trial. Of course, Queensland is not the only state to have had such acts.

From the late 19th century to as late as the 1980s, state governments across Australia controlled the wages and savings of the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia -- where they could live, the kind of work they could do, where they could travel and who they could marry. Their wages were usually paid into a trust that Indigenous workers couldn't access -- and, in many cases, this money just disappeared.