Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Strong future for the Healing Foundation

The Australian Government today welcomed the release of a report on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation.

Voices from the campfires: Establishing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation is the culmination of four months of consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The report recommends that the new Foundation focus on funding grassroots healing initiatives, and health promotion, education and skills training in the prevention and treatment of trauma.

The Foundation will also build an evidence base through the evaluation and documentation of best practice in healing.

On the first anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, the Australian Government announced $26.6 million over four years to establish the Healing Foundation, to be operational from January 2010.

Its vision is to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people support and ownership, and to help them overcome the cycle of trauma and grief arising from forced removals and other past government policies.

More than 450 people attended 17 workshops and forums across Australia, and 48 written submissions were received.

I want to thank all those people who had the courage, and the faith in the importance of healing, to tell their own stories.

The Australian Government acknowledges the hard work and dedication of the Co-Chairs May O’Brien and Gregory Phillips, the members of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Development Team and the team’s patron, Professor Lowitja O’Donoghue.

An interim Board recommended by the Development Team will oversee the early establishment of the body until a full Board is appointed in December.

Members of the interim Board are Mr Gregory Phillips, Ms May O’Brien, Ms Deb Hocking and Professor Helen Milroy.

Advertisements for positions on the inaugural Board will be announced in October.

A copy of the report can be found at Healing Foundation Development Team page (