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The Stolen Generation Reparations Scheme (SGRS) is an administrative scheme established by the South Australian Government. It allows for individuals who are Aboriginal and were removed from their families as children prior to 31 December 1975 to apply for an ex gratia payment by way of reparation. The SGRS was open from 1 April 2016 until 31 March 2017, receiving a total of 448 applications.

The Minister has now finished assessing all applications, and the process of communicating the Minister’s decisions, and where applicable, making offers of payment, has commenced. Acceptance of an offer will be based on the applicant executing a discharge and release document (enclosed with the letter of offer) by which the applicant agrees to release the Crown and all related Crown entities from any legal liability for the alleged removal.

In the letter of offer, the Minister encourages those who receive an offer of reparation to obtain independent legal advice. The Minister has also advised applicants that if they wish to accept the offer, then they must sign and return the documentation by 7 February 2018, meaning applicants have a short window within which to obtain legal advice.

The Government has committed up to $1,000 for each applicant to obtain independent legal advice, at no cost to the applicant. It is strongly advised that applicants obtain legal advice about the effect a reparation payment may have for the purposes of income tax, social security and Medicare, and any legal effects of accepting or declining the offer.

Mellor Olsson is registered with the Law Society of South Australia’s referral service to provide this legal advice to applicants, and can be contacted directly for an appointment to provide face to face and written legal advice to applicants in metropolitan and regional areas of South Australia. If you have any questions about the scheme or would like to make an appointment to discuss an offer you have received, please contact Tim Mellor.