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Churches set to front Indigenous truth-telling inquiry

Cassandra Morgan -

Three of Australia's most prominent Christian churches are set to be grilled at a truth-telling inquiry as it focuses on land injustices against Aboriginal people.

Representatives from the Catholic, Anglican and Uniting churches are expected to face a public hearing at the Yoorrook Justice Commission on Wednesday.

The inquiry has homed in on land injustice in its latest hearings.

Churches played a significant role in setting up Victorian missions and reserves where Aboriginal people were confined.

Some have in recent years acknowledged their ministries were built on stolen Aboriginal land, while churches were also behind the forcible removal of children in the stolen generation.

Children were subsequently placed in churches' care.

Premier Jacinta Allan was the latest witness to give evidence at the inquiry on Monday, revealing she was prepared to make a formal apology to Aboriginal Victorians.

The apology would follow the release of the justice commission's final report in mid-2025 and negotiations with the elected First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria, who would consult with the wider community about its form.

"To move forward as a society and to mend wrongs and heal wounds, the state needs to publicly reckon with its role in perpetrating injustice," the premier's witness statement read.

"It takes more than just admitting the historical facts, though they are important."

Former premier Jeff Kennett apologised to Aboriginal people on behalf of the parliament and all Victorians in 1997 for past policies leading to the removal of Aboriginal children from their families and communities.

Cassandra Morgan - AAP

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