The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria – the elected body representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Victorian Treaty process – has welcomed the State Government’s unveiling of a long overdue redress program for members of the Stolen Generations.
Assembly Co-Chair and proud Nira illim bulluk man of the Taungurung nation, Marcus Stewart, said the harm caused by governments forcibly removing Aboriginal children from their families, Country and community could never be repaired, but an attempt to acknowledge the injustice and provide redress was an important step from the Victorian Government.
“Treaty is about creating a better future, but to do that there’s a lot of unfinished business from the past that we need to tackle first. That’s why truth-telling and redress for our Stolen Generations survivors is a priority for us at the First Peoples’ Assembly,” said Marcus.
The sentiments were echoed by Assembly Co-Chair and Bangerang and Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Geraldine Atkinson.
“The damage inflicted on our people when government authorities ripped families apart and stole our children runs across generations and the disadvantage it caused is ongoing. I don’t believe there is anything that can heal that trauma or ever repay that loss, but the package announced today will go some way to helping people address the disadvantage caused by the inhumane practices our people have been subjected to,” said Aunty Geraldine.
The Victorian Government’s program to be unveiled at a ceremony today at Parliament House, will allow members of the Stolen Generations to apply for a payment of $100,000, a personal apology from the Victorian Government, as well as gain access to healing and family reunion programs.
“The policies that caused the Stolen Generations were an attempt to ‘breed out’ and eliminate Aboriginal people. Just one of many attempts. But here we are – still proudly practicing our culture and speaking our languages. We have the oldest living culture in the world. We know a thing or two about survival, resilience and resistance,” said Aunty Geraldine.
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