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Wednesday, 09 November 2005

Uniting Church rejects stolen wages deadline

The Uniting Church in Australia today called on the Queensland Government to extend the deadline for Stolen Wage claimants or risk a public backlash.

Uniting Church President, Reverend Dr. Dean Drayton and the National Administrator of the Uniting Church Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) the Reverend Shayne Blackman said they supported the moves by The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation to oppose the imminent reparations offer deadline from the Queensland Government on the 31st December 2005.

“Stolen wages is a serious issue close to the hearts of many Indigenous people and it requires further time and more avenues to be worked through by all Indigenous stakeholders if a satisfactory outcome for all parties is to be achieved,” Rev Blackman said.

“This deadline imposed by the Queensland Government for reparations is suggestive of an administration increasingly becoming misaligned to their responsibilities in improving Indigenous outcomes and I feel saddened by their resolve.”

Dr Drayton said the Church has long called for practical measures and committed leadership on Indigenous issues as a way to help overcome the legacy of our history.

“This attempt by the Queensland Government to enforce a December 31 deadline for reparation applications runs counter to this type of approach. I urge the Queensland Government to reconsider its position on this matter in the interests of equality and justice that Indigenous people yearn for,” Rev. Drayton said.

UAICC Media Contact: Ramon Peachey (07) 4773 5077
Uniting Church Contact: Gavin Melvin, 0417 416 674