Stolen Generation Survivors today joined the Premier and Ministers in the NSW Parliament to mark the 25th anniversary of the state’s apology to the Stolen Generations by former Premier Bob Carr in 1997.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the public acknowledgement and apology on behalf of the state was an important act of respect in the reconciliation journey, recognising the trauma suffered by thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from past government policies.
“Today, we reaffirmed our sorrow in Parliament, 25 years after the state of NSW apologised to the Stolen Generations,” Mr Perrottet said.
“We know the pain many children and families feel is as raw today as it was a quarter of a century ago. We understand hurt lingers in successive generations and we want to help break that cycle.”
Today $15.3 million over four years was announced as part of the 2022-23 Budget to work with Stolen Generations Organisations to progress the establishment of memorials and keeping places at the sites of former Aboriginal Children’s Homes in Bomaderry, Cootamundra, Kinchela and Keller House in North Parramatta. These memorials and keeping places will preserve these culturally significant sites as places of truth-telling and learning, and will allow Stolen Generations Survivors to record, preserve and share their stories.
Mr Perrottet said words are an important part of the healing process but he was also committed to pursuing initiatives to make a positive difference, such as installing the Aboriginal flag permanently on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and handing back Me-Mel to the Aboriginal community.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Franklin said today we are again facing confronting truths and recognising the strength of Stolen Generations Survivors, as they continue to lead self-determined healing in their families and communities.
“This event is an important opportunity to give voice to the generations that lost so much and to bring attention to the ongoing and present trauma of family breakdown and children being removed from their loved ones. Truth-telling and apology can be powerful forces for change,” Mr Franklin said.
“Many Stolen Generations Survivors are of advanced age and there is a level of urgency to support and repatriate survivors, record and share their histories and invest into the aspirations of survivors, through the keeping places projects.
“We know there is more to be done, and we are deeply committed to ensuring survivors’ needs are addressed in a survivor led and informed way.”