9 February 2016
Reparations Tribunal key to treating Stolen Generations trauma
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council today confirmed its support for a Reparations Tribunal to assist members of the Stolen Generations.
NSWALC Deputy Chair Anne Dennis told a Parliamentary Inquiry into Reparations for the Stolen Generations in NSW that the legacy of the forced removal of children continued to haunt Aboriginal communities throughout the State.
Cr Dennis said members of the Stolen Generations remain among the State’s most disadvantaged people.
The policy of removing Aboriginal children from their families, practiced by consecutive Federal and State governments from the 19th century to the 1970s, was documented in the landmark “Bringing Them Home” report in 1996.
“Bringing Them Home uncovered evidence of abuse and mistreatment by government officials to members of the Stolen Generations and it demonstrated the attempts by Government to segregate and marginalise Aboriginal people.
“Just as there is no Aboriginal family in New South Wales that was untouched by the horror of child removal, there is no Local Aboriginal Land Council that doesn’t count Stolen Generations people among its members.”
Cr Dennis said that in addition to supporting the Public Interest Advocacy Network’s work on establishing a Reparations Tribunal, NSWALC also recommended the NSW Government:
· Publicly report on the implementation of the Government’s Aboriginal Placement Principle
· Invest in mental health counselling, family reunion services and parenting support
· Invest in Aboriginal arts and healing programs
· Continues to adequately fund Link-Up
· Compensates Aboriginal people affected by forced removal policies
Cr Dennis said the people of NSW should be proud that its State Parliament was the first to offer an apology to the Stolen Generations.
“However, the Bringing Them Home report was tabled almost 20 years.
“Given the passage of time, it is appropriate for the NSW Parliament to revisit the Bringing Them Home recommendations and assess whether the Government’s response is still relevant to the needs of the Stolen Generations today.
“NSWALC hopes the NSW Parliament Inquiry continues to shine a light on the practice of racially-based child removal and inform the Government about the continuing needs of the Stolen Generations.”
Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291