The Restoration Fund
The Restoration Fund (previously Pay The Rent fund) has been developed by members of Balaangala Community Group Inc. in partnership and consultation with First Nations Elders and community members. The Fund is for non-First Nations people who want to act on their concerns and beliefs about living on land they know was stolen from First Nations people.
The Restoration Fund was officially launched on January 26th 2019 by Aunty Flo Watson. The Fund aims to help restore some of the financial and cultural capital that has been taken from First Nations people through the process of colonisation.
We acknowledge that all Australians live on Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island land and that land was taken from First Nation peoples without consent, payment or treaty. Making contributions to the Fund acknowledges that non-Indigenous people have benefited and continue to benefit from policies and practices that have been part of the colonisation of this nation, particularly stolen land and wages. We all benefit from the occupation and use of this land. Whether we were born here or arrived here as migrants, we cannot avoid sharing responsibility for the perpetuation of this injustice.
The Fund is a way that non-Indigenous people can contribute directly to First Nation-owned groups, small businesses and organisations. Contributing to this Fund is an act of restorative justice, of recompense, of taking responsibility and acknowledging benefits accrued through occupying stolen land.
Decisions about financial distributions are made by a “decision-making” panel of four First Nations people (who are paid for their deliberation time). A public event is held each year where Panel members announce which group/s will receive money and the amount. The day to day working of the Fund is done by a Working group which is under the umbrella of Balaangala Community Group Inc.
The Fund aims to help build wealth and cultural capital. Therefore, money will be given to groups/small businesses that aim to provide sustainable ongoing projects and activities such as creating employment or cultural programs that have long-term effects.
We are committed to an on-going process of learning, evolving and adapting. Whilst initially small, we hope the Fund will grow over time and perhaps encourage others to explore what’s possible within their own communities. For more information, to provide feedback, or enquire about a one-off or ongoing contribution, email the Restoration Fund Working Group – firstname.lastname@example.org
Declaration of Commitment and Intent
2018: Balaangala members’ discussions around the possibility of a local treaty led to the “Towards a Treaty” group making a declaration of commitment and intent, which was shared on the 26th of January 2018.
2019: On the 26th of January 2019, the Towards a Treaty group launched a Pay The Rent scheme. The fund was officially launched by Aunty Flo Watson.
2020: Following further consultation with the decision making panel, the fund was renamed the Restoration Fund.
Balaangala was a finalist in the 2020 Qld Premier’s Reconciliation Awards in recognition of the work creating and facilitating the Restoration Fund.
In the fund’s first year following its launch in 2019, $11,000 was received. The decision making panel – Aunty Jackie Huggins, Maurice Serico, Uncle Ross Williams and Aunty Flo Watson – chose four groups to receive money, including two Elders’ groups, a culturally-based domestic violence program and a group involved in teaching and sharing Culture and providing employment for its members.
A panel discussion with Mary Graham, Lila Watson, Bob Weatherall and Michael Mansell, facilitated by Tiga Bayles