Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

National Healing Foundation consultations start on National Sorry Day

Today, schools and community groups across Australia are holding ceremonies and morning teas to mark the 12th anniversary of National Sorry Day.

This coincides with the start of consultations on the development of a National Healing Foundation.

Under the leadership of Stolen Generations elder May O’Brien and community advocate and researcher Greg Phillips, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team will conduct workshops in towns across Australia on a preferred model for the Healing Foundation.

The Australian Government has allocated $26.6 million for the Foundation over four years.

While the Foundation will consider the needs of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it will have a particular focus on Stolen Generations.

The team was selected for their skills and experiences in healing and trauma recovery, and includes several Stolen Generations.

The workshops are being held in urban and regional locations across the country over the next two months.

We have also committed $13.8 million for link-up services to help members of the Stolen Generations find and reunite with their families and communities, bringing the total additional investment in family reunions to $29.5 million.

This supports our commitment to continue working with Stolen Generations to achieve more together.

Sorry Day has been commemorated on 26 May since 1998 after it was included in the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home report.

Today is a time for all Australians to reflect on the injustices of the past.

The Bringing Them Home Report tabled in Parliament on 26 May 1997 was a watershed moment.

Previous laws and policies of forcible removal still affect Indigenous families today.

The National Apology was an important step in building trust and re-setting Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation Development Team

Ms May O’Brien (Co-Chairperson)

May O’Brien (WA), at the age of seven was taken to Mt Margaret Mission. May has overseen a number of important advances in Aboriginal education including becoming the first Aboriginal Superintendant in WA. This appointment was made soon after completing the Churchill Fellowship.

Mr Gregory Phillips (Co-Chairperson)

Gregory Phillips (Qld/Vic) is a community advocate and researcher. He has worked in Aboriginal healing education, land councils, youth leadership and health, and spent many years developing community healing initiatives.

Ms Debra Hocking

Debra Hocking (Tas) is a survivor of the Stolen Generations. She is a recipient of the United Nations award for the International Year of the Culture of Peace and has Masters Degree in Indigenous Health.

Dr Helen Milroy

Associate Professor Helen Milroy (WA) has worked as a General Practitioner and Consultant in Childhood Sexual Abuse at Princess Margaret Hospital for children for several years.

Mr Brian Butler

Brian Butler (SA) is currently the Aboriginal Advocate for South Australia in the Aged Rights Advocacy Service and the Aboriginal Elders Council of South Australia.

Ms Barbra Asplet

Barbara Asplet (NSW) has been actively engaged in overcoming trauma for many years by providing effective healing services.

Mr Bradley Brown

Bradley Brown (Vic) has been employed in Aboriginal health for 22 years and has specific experience in delivering services for Stolen Generations.

Mr David Cole

David Cole (NT) is the Founder and Director of the Balunu Foundation in Darwin which works with young at-risk Indigenous people, giving them a sense of purpose and pride.

Ms Noritta Morseu-Diop

Noritta Morseu-Diop is a Torres Strait Islander social worker who has worked extensively in the areas of grief, loss and healing within the criminal justice system in the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.