The Western Australian government will deliver a historic apology to Stolen Wages survivors in state parliament today.

The apology is part of a class action settlement that will see the state of Western Australia pay up to $180.4 million to eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers, or surviving relatives of the deceased, who were paid little or no wages from 1936 to 1972.

The lead applicant in the class action Senior Gooniyandi Elder Mervyn Street will be in attendance to witness the state Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Tony Buti issue an acknowledgement and apology to him and other workers and their descendants who suffered inter-generational disadvantage because of the legislation in place in WA which directly impacted the lives and livelihoods of First Nations people.

The apology is expected at about 1pm WA time and can be streamed here:

Also in attendance will be members of Shine Lawyers class actions team who represented Mr Street.

The settlement is yet to be approved by the Federal Government, which will happen after eligible workers and their families are registered.

Ahead of the settlement, which is yet to be approved by the Federal Court, Shine Lawyers will be visiting over 200 communities and holding info sessions throughout Western Australia to sign up as many eligible workers and their families as possible to ensure they receive financial compensation.

Lawyer Vicky Antzoulatos said the agreement was a victory for the workers and their descendants who suffered intergenerational disadvantage because of the laws.

“Financial compensation is one way to acknowledge the suffering of First Nations people. It doesn’t correct the past but offers a way forward.”

“We acknowledge the Western Australian Government’s efforts in seeking to correct a historical wrong and improve reconciliation with the State’s Aboriginal population through this class action. Hopefully, greater understanding of the experiences of Aboriginal people in Western Australia during this sad earlier time in history is also a lasting legacy of this class action.”

For more information on the class action and recent settlement: Compensation for thousands of Stolen Wages workers in Western Australia | Shine Lawyers