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Western Australia Stolen Wages Class Action

This class action is on behalf of the thousands of Indigenous Australians in Western Australia whose wages were unjustly withheld or not paid as a result of wage control legislation in effect until 1972. 

The Federal Court of Australia has made orders extending the deadline to register for the class action to 30 September 2024.

If you wish to participate in the settlement of the class action, you must complete a registration form by 30 September 2024 to be considered for compensation money.

If you submitted a registration form before 14 November 2023, you must register again using a different registration form.

Click on the 'Register for settlement' button below to access the registration form.

Register for settlement

Proposed settlement of the class action  

The State of Western Australia (State) has agreed to settle a class action for Stolen Wages, launched by Mervyn Street on behalf of many thousands of Aboriginal Australians who worked in Western Australia and were paid little or no wages, between 1936 and 1972.  

As part of the historic class action settlement, the State will pay up to $180.4 million to eligible Aboriginal workers or their surviving spouses and children who register to participate in the settlement by 30 September 2024. The amount to be paid by the State depends on how many people register. 

The proposed settlement includes a separate amount of up to $15.4 million for some of the Applicant’s legal costs, and also involved the State delivering a public acknowledgment and apology in the Western Australian Parliament to the surviving and deceased Aboriginal workers on 28 November 2023. Mervyn Street was there to receive the apology. 

The settlement is subject to approval by the Federal Court of Australia, which will occur following the registration process currently underway. The Court hearing to decide whether the settlement should be approved is going to be held on 28 and 29 October 2024, in Perth.

The Court will decide the exact amount to be received by each Aboriginal worker or their family members who register, but Mr Street intends to ask the Court to make sure that a greater amount is paid to people who worked the longest under the legislation in force from 1936 to 1972.  

If you wish to participate in the settlement, you must complete a settlement registration form by 30 September 2024 to be considered for compensation money.

If you registered before 14 November 2023, you must register again using a different registration form to be considered for compensation money.

What is the Western Australia Stolen Wages Class Action about?

Mr Mervyn Street brought a case in the Federal Court against the Western Australian Government on behalf of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who weren’t paid all their wages or money between 1936 and 1972.  

How to register to participate in the Western Australia Stolen Wages Class Action Settlement 

You must register for the settlement by 30 September 2024 to be considered for compensation money, even if you previously told Shine Lawyers that you want to be part of the class action.

To register for the settlement you must: 

1. Fill out the registration form by clicking the button below; or

2. Call our free phone number on 1800 976 150 and speak to one of our team members who can help you fill out the updated registration form over the phone;

Register for settlement

You are a group member if:

A) you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person; 

B) between 11 December 1936 and 9 June 1972 you lived in Western Australia and worked at some time or had your property controlled in that period; OR

C) you are representing a family member who qualifies and has since passed away. 

Further information about who is eligible to get compensation money from the class action is in the Settlement Notice

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a class action?

When Governments, large companies or institutions do the wrong thing and people are harmed or suffer loss as a result, an individual can have little to no means of bringing a legal claim.

Class actions are an important mechanism within Australia’s legal system that allow large groups of people to come together to pursue a claim collectively.

For a class action to take place, there are three criteria that need to be met:

  1. There must be 7 or more people that have claims against the same defendant; and

  2. The claims relate to the same or similar circumstances; and

  3. The claim must relate to at least one common issue of law or fact.

For more information about how class actions resolve, click here.

How long do class actions take to resolve?

It can take up to several years for a class action to resolve. The time taken from case commencement through to resolution and settlement administration depends on the particular case, and the nature of the claim.

For more information about class actions and how they work, click here.

Does it cost anything to join a class action?

Shine Lawyers is committed to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their background or financial situation, has access to justice. We run our class actions in a way that means you are not exposed to any costs or financial risk, so joining a class action will cost you nothing.

When a class action is successful, the legal fees and costs to run the class action are deducted from the settlement amount that is approved by the Court. If the class action is unsuccessful, we will ensure there are no out-of-pocket costs to you.

Will my contact details be kept private?

Yes, your contact details will remain confidential and we will seek your consent before disclosing any of your personal information (including before such disclosure is required by the Court).

Shine Lawyers will only use your personal information strictly for the purpose of the legal proceedings.

Meet the Western Australia Stolen Wages Class Action team

Shine Lawyers’ Western Australia Stolen Wages Class Action team includes some of the firm’s most experienced litigators, solicitors and support staff. You can learn more about the team running this class action by clicking on their profile below.

Why Choose Shine Lawyers?

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Shine Lawyers acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Country throughout Australia and their connections to land, waterways and community. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past, present and emerging.

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