‘Closure’ for Palm Islanders imminent 15 years on from riots
ALMOST 450 Palm Island residents impacted by the infamous 2004 riots will receive their final financial compensation payments by the end of October, lawyers have said.
Hundreds of Palm Islanders will share in the remainder of the $30 million settlement including costs paid out by the State Government last year.
It followed the Federal Court ruling in 2016 that the conduct of certain police officers during the 2004 riots - that followed the death in custody of Palm Islander Cameron "Mulrunji" Doomadgee - contravened the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.
Special Counsel at Levitt Robinson Solicitors Brett Imlay, the firm representing the claimants, said the second and final payment was expected to be paid out by the end of October.
"(The payment) varies depending on what happened to the person," he said.
"There are three barristers who are reviewing the claims and it's too early to say what people will receive.
"People are in different groups and some people are receiving a fix summed … most of the group are receiving fixed amounts say between $10,000 and $20,000."
Mr Imlay said there were other claimants who had been in their homes when police officers arrived on the island and arrested them, therefore their claims would be worth more.
Claimants were paid $3000 as an initial payment last year, Mr Imlay said, although about 10 were uncontactable and have not yet been paid.
"It's a very time consuming process," he said.
"It's not exactly sure when it will be (the final payment), but we are hoping it will be by the end of October.
"This will hopefully be closure for everybody."
Activist Lex Wotton, who led the class action after the Federal Court ruling in 2016 in his favour, said he had since moved on but the payment to the rest of the claimants would be closure.
"It is their reward I suppose for their patience in regards to the settlement and the actions taken by police at the time," he said.
The State Government also issued a public apology to the community of Palm Island for police actions during the riots last year.
"The Queensland Government acknowledges that men, women and children who were assaulted or otherwise treated illegally during this time suffered distress, humiliation and violence," the apology read,
"There has been much suffering and pain wrought on the people of Palm Island both during and since those events.
"As a government we have learned from your significant pain and suffering and have taken significant steps to ensure that none of our citizens will again suffer discrimination at the hands of their government."