The NSW Government will follow the lead of the Tasmanian and South Australian State Governments by creating a reparations package for members of the Stolen Generations worth $73 million.
According to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Leslie Williams, the package will see payments of up to $75,000 go to around 730 survivors without the need for lengthy legal processes.
Williams also said,
“With this response, the NSW Government officially acknowledges the real and heartbreaking trauma caused by historic government policies and practices of removing Aboriginal children from their kin and country.”
Support groups for people from the Stolen Generations will also see ongoing funding to continue their work and operations. A $5 million healing fund will also be created to help support the people surrounded by those dealing with trauma, from whole communities to direct descendants of the Stolen Generations.
The package comes in response to the 12-month Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into Reparations for the Stolen Generations by the State Government, prompted by findings which were first published in the Bringing Them Home Report in 1997. This report was the first to comprehensively publish findings about the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families, the treatment of these children and the ongoing effects it had on individuals.
Although this package is a great leap forward in acknowledging the wrongs of the past, and supports those who were traumatically affected by the actions of the Australian Government and institutions, Stolen Generations survivors are making it clear that although appreciated and helpful, a pay out will not give them back their childhood and culture.
Richard Campbell was removed from his family and sent to the Kinchela Boys School, where he was stripped of his name and identity and instead referred to as a number. Number 28.
“Are they going to give me back my culture?…Are they going to give me back my language?” Campbell said while speaking to ABC radio.
The package will also see the establishment of a Stolen Generations Advisory Committee and funding toward bettering the administrative process of proving one’s Aboriginality.