The NSW Government will offer survivors of the devastating government-sanctioned Stolen Generation a reparations package worth more than $73 million.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Leslie Williams announced the scheme today, which will see one-off payments of about $75,000 offered to roughly 730 survivors “without the need for a lengthy and arduous legal process” , as well as provide ongoing funding for support groups.
“There are parts of our history that I, as a minister, and I’m sure many Australians are quite ashamed of,” she told ABC Radio this morning. “We can’t change the past but what we can do is acknowledge those practises of past governments have had such a profound effect on Aboriginal people.”
It comes as part of the NSW Government’s response to the Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into Reparations for the Stolen Generations, tabled in NSW Parliament today.
“With this response, the NSW Government officially acknowledges the real and heartbreaking trauma caused by historic government policies and practises of removing Aboriginal children from their kin and country,” Williams said in a statement.
“We have accepted the vast majority of the Parliamentary Committee’s recommendations and together with the Premier I will establish a Stolen Generations advisory committee to ensure our response is implemented swiftly, effectively and respectfully but most importantly in partnership with Aboriginal people.”
She promised that the scheme will also address the impacts of trauma on survivor’s families, descendants and communities through a $5 million healing fund.
“It is my sincerest hope that by acknowledging the wrongs of the past and providing enduring and meaningful support for the future, we can avoid such a tragedy ever being repeated.”
While we absolutely applaud this move by the NSW Government as a step in healing the horrendous wrongdoings in the country, it’s important to acknowledge that for some survivors of the Stolen Generation, it is too little, too late.
“Are they going to give me back my culture?” survivor Richard Campbell – who was held at the notorious Kinchela boy’s home – told ABC Radio. “Are they going to give me back my language?”
Another survivor, Fay Mosely, who was 10 when she was taken from her family to the Cootamundra Aboriginal Girls’ Training Home in 1956, told Fairfax that while the compensation was welcome, it could never replace “the loss of your parents, the loss of your siblings” and children.
Photo: Rabbit Proof Fence.