Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Stolen Generations Working Partnership

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Warren Snowdon MP Minister for Indigenous Health Rural and Regional Health and Regional Services Delivery

The Australian Government today released a new approach to harness the efforts of Government and non-government organisations to support members of the Stolen Generations and help heal grief and trauma caused by past practices of forcible removal.

The Stolen Generations Working Partnership paper outlines priority areas to address the immediate and practical needs of members of the Stolen Generations.

Given the many reforms and investments underway across the Australian Government, it is important that their specific needs are recognised in national policy and program development.

The release of the Working Partnership paper marks National Sorry Day, held on 26 May each year – the anniversary of the tabling of the Bringing them home report in Parliament.

Some of the priority issues identified include:

  • Improving the service Stolen Generations receive from both mainstream and Indigenous services, for example through national educational materials tailored to professionals working in aged care.
  • Ensuring appropriate diagnosis and pathways to care for Stolen Generations’ members experiencing social and emotional wellbeing issues.
  • Recording of oral histories and other ways to honour Stolen Generations’ resilience and educate the broader community.
  • Creating places of belonging and acceptance and maintaining connection with other Stolen Generations’ members, knowing that many have lifelong bonds after growing up in institutions together.
  • Working with the states and territories as part of the National Indigenous Law and Justice Framework on support to Stolen Generations’ members and their children who are in prison, both pre and post-release.

The priorities outlined in the paper have been identified in consultation with two national Stolen Generation bodies, the National Sorry Day Committee and Stolen Generations Alliance.

Since the National Apology, the Government has increased funding for Link Up family reunion services for Stolen Generations’ members and Bringing Them Home counsellors – a funding increase of 50 per cent between 2007-08 and 2009-10.

This year alone funding for these initiatives will increase by $8.9 million, providing:

  • An additional 16 full-time Link Up positions to help with family tracing and reunions, bringing the total to 70 Link up positions nationally;
  • Nine new workforce units in each state and territory to help support workers and counsellors who work with members of the Stolen Generations;
  • Funding for community based projects, including healing camps for members of the Stolen Generations, new resources such as reunion kits, DVDs and websites; and
  • A new text book on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health and wellbeing.

This is in addition to more than 120 counsellors already available nationally, and 11 Link Up services across Australia to trace, locate and reunite people with their families.

We are offering this Working Partnership to Stolen Generations, recognising that support is needed to deal with the daily experience of various types of trauma, loss and grief, and to help stop the cycle of trauma from continuing into the future.

Stolen Generations want greater participation in decision-making about the delivery of services, and support for the development of their own solutions.

Announced earlier this year, the Australian Government will deliver leadership development opportunities for members of the Stolen Generations, including:

  • An innovative four day Indigenous Leadership Program specifically for Stolen Generations will be held in Adelaide on 11-14 October 2010; and
  • Providing 20 scholarships for members of the Stolen Generations to undertake a Certificate II in Indigenous Leadership at the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre from 21 to 27 September 2010.

We are also providing $26 million for a new and independent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, which will have a strong focus on the healing and aspirations of the Stolen Generations.

A copy of the Stolen Generations Working Partnership will be available shortly at the Indigenous website