Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Response to the Senate inquiry report Forgotten Australians and Lost Innocents Revisited

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Justine Elliot MP, Minister for Ageing

The Australian Government today tabled its response to the recommendations contained in the Senate inquiry report Forgotten Australians and Lost Innocents Revisited.

The Senate report detailed the trauma and suffering of many Forgotten Australians and former child migrants from a system that did not adequately provide for, or protect children in its care.

The national apology by the Prime Minister on 16 November acknowledged the abuse of neglect of many of the 500,000 Forgotten Australians and child migrants placed in institutional care and foster homes.

The Government has responded to the 16 recommendations contained in the Senate report and outlined further support to the healing process.

In addition to delivering a national apology the Government’s response includes a number of new practical measures to assist care leavers:

A national Find and Connect Service

An Australia-wide family tracing and support service for care leavers (including former child migrants) to locate personal and family history files and assist them to reunite with members of their families, where possible.

The service will provide a national database that will collate and index existing state identified records into a national searchable database, accessible to state and other care leaver services and also directly to care leavers themselves.

Improved Aged Care for Care Leavers

As a matter of priority, the Government will identify care leavers as a special needs group for aged care purposes by amending the Aged Care Principles 1997.

This will ensure the needs of care leavers are considered in the planning and allocation of aged care places.

The Government will also support the development and distribution of information so providers and carers in the aged care sector recognise the special needs of care leavers and provide appropriate and responsive care, including access to counselling and support services.

History Projects

Two key history projects will help scholars, support organisations, the community, Forgotten Australians and former child migrants and their families to better understand, reflect on and remember the experiences of those children who experienced physical and emotional abuse while in care.

The Australian Government is providing the National Library of Australia with $1.7 million for an oral history project, including $500,000 for counselling support for those who participate.

The National Museum of Australia will receive a further $1.2 million for a material culture collection and exhibition.

Both projects will commence early 2010.

Further information on these projects and how people can participate can be found at Forgotten Australians.