The WA Government has settled a class action for Stolen Wages on behalf of many thousands of Aboriginal Australians who worked in Western Australia and were not paid some or all of their wages while they were subject to legislation in effect from 1936 to 1972.  Mervyn Street launched the legal action in 2020 on behalf of survivors and surviving relatives of those who did not receive all of their wages.  He was represented by Shine Lawyers.

The settlement marks an important day in the fight against this great injustice and LLS is proud to have supported Mervyn Street and all group members as the litigation funder in these proceedings.

As part of the class action settlement, the State of WA will pay up to $180.4 million to eligible aboriginal workers or their surviving spouses and children. The State will also issue a public acknowledgment and apology in the WA Parliament to the surviving and deceased Aboriginal workers on 28 November 2023.

Shaun Bonétt, Chair of LLS said: “A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay is at the heart of who we are as a decent society, yet thousands of WA’s Indigenous workers have historically had their wages stolen. Today’s settlement is a historic day in the fight against this injustice. We thank and commend lead litigant Mervyn Street and Indigenous group members who stood up to fight for those affected. Thank you to Premier Cook and the WA Government for their leadership in resolving this matter and to our legal counsel and partners Shine. We trust this settlement provides some comfort to group members who had wages stolen and to the families of workers that are now deceased.”

The settlement is subject to approval by the Federal Court of Australia following a Court ordered registration process.

Click here to read Media Release PDF

Click here to read ABC News coverage of the settlement