Sorry Day – 2010. Reparations package, please and “New partnership with Stolen Generations members welcomed.”

Australian Human Rights Commission.

The Stolen Generations’ Working Partnership announced today by the Federal Government is a welcome move that should go some way towards addressing the immediate and practical needs of Stolen Generations members, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda, said today on National Sorry Day.

Commissioner Gooda said this new commitment by Government to engage with Stolen Generations members and to work in partnership with them and service providers had the real potential to improve lives.

“Past practices which forcibly removed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families were continuing up until 40 years ago and have significantly impacted on members of the Stolen Generations and – either directly or indirectly – on virtually every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person in Australia,” Commissioner Gooda said.

“I congratulate the Government, the National Sorry Day Committee and the Stolen Generations Alliance for committing to work together to find solutions and better coordinate delivery of services to Stolen Generations members.

“I’m confident that this new partnership has the potential to improve lives by ensuring that the needs of the Stolen Generations are top of mind in a range of key government policy areas such as closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage, national mental health initiatives and the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s children,” Mr Gooda said.

“While I welcome the Stolen Generations’ Working Partnership and its commitment to reviewing the recommendations of the 1997 Bringing them home Report, I urge the Government to introduce, as a matter of urgency, a reparations package that provides monetary compensation, guarantees against repetition and provides restitution and rehabilitation to the Stolen Generations,” he said.

“The majority of Stolen Generations members are now over 45,” he said. “We have no time to waste and must move quickly to provide the help and support that is needed before Stolen Generations members get too old or die.”

Commissioner Gooda said this year’s National Reconciliation Week and its theme of, Reconciliation: Let’s see it through!, provided the perfect opportunity to refocus on bringing real closure and healing for members of the Stolen Generations.

Commissioner Gooda called on the Federal Government to build on the significant inroads it had already made towards reconciliation, such as the National Apology, establishing an independent Healing Foundation, and formally supporting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples last year, by implementing the main recommendations of the Bringing them home Report.

“Let’s put Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week into action and make reparations a reality,” he said.

“Until we do, the suffering and loss experienced by our peoples will continue to hinder reconciliation and our positive development as a nation.”

National Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May – 3 June. Information can be found at:
http://www.reconciliation.org.au/home/get-involved/events/national-reconciliation-week