Stolen Wages Settlement
Update 9, 12 June 2020
Welcome to our ninth Stolen Wages Settlement email update to claimants (workers under the Stolen Wages practices) and registered representatives (for deceased claimants).
Meet Councillor Kebei Salee Koeget from the Stolen Wages team
Amol kutangon (good morning).
My name is Councillor Kebei Salee Koeget. I am 59 years of age and live in Sigabaduru Village, Western Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Sigabaduru is one of 13 treaty villages recognised in the Torres Strait Treaty between Australia and PNG. Residents can make traditional visits to the northern part of the Torres Strait without a passport. Many people from the treaty villages worked on Australian boats and Torres Strait Islands during the time of Stolen Wages.
I have been a councillor for Sigabaduru Village Ward for three terms since 2008 and am in the position until the next election in 2022. I have also been the chairman or the co-chairman (team leader) of the Torres Strait treaty circle meetings (bilateral meetings) between PNG and Australia from 2008.
I started working part-time with Grant Thornton as part of the Stolen Wages team in March 2020 but have a long history of helping people with their Stolen Wages claims. From 2004 to 2018 I assisted the Queensland Government with their Stolen Wages reparations scheme that included more than 400 claimants from the PNG treaty villages. I also assisted Bottoms English Lawyers in 2019 to contact PNG claimants as part of the Stolen Wages Class Action. My work with PNG claimants under the Queensland Government scheme was on a voluntary basis but boat fuel and oil was provided to me to travel between the treaty villages to meet with claimants.
There is no electricity, internet or post office in Sigabaduru and no roads in the region. All travel between the treaty villages is by boat. I stay in touch with the Stolen Wages Information Centre by mobile phone that receives coverage from Saibai Island in Australia. COVID-19 restrictions have prevented travel in PNG but I am doing my best to stay in touch with PNG claimants.
No information, no payment
Thank you to everyone that has provided us with the information and documents required to support their claim. There has been an improvement since the last update:
- 1,913 people have not provided us with a postal address
(a 4.9% improvement since the last update)
- 2,983 people have not provided us with their bank account details
(a 9% improvement since the last update)
- 7,758 people have not provided us with an acceptable identification document (acceptable ID is listed at stolenwages.com.au).
(a 14% improvement since the last update)
- 961 claimant records do not have a complete date of birth recorded
(a 17% improvement since the last update).
The closing date for information and documents to support a claim is approaching rapidly. The Stolen Wages website has been updated with the above.
If all required information and documents are not received by the closing date of 28 August 2020, a claim may not receive a payment. If posting documents, please allow sufficient time for Australia Post to deliver to the Stolen Wages Information Centre before the closing date.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, it is likely that the Stolen Wages Information Centre will not be able to conduct our planned community visits and information sessions.
Information will be provided to each community and we will continue to provide regular updates via our website, email and radio.
The Stolen Wages Information Centre is however still operating within the restrictions imposed by the Commonwealth and Queensland governments. The Stolen Wages Information Centre can be contacted via telephone, email, post or fax.
Our website - www.stolenwages.com.au - is the place to go to for accurate and up to date information.