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Stolen Generations survivors “betrayed again” on anniversary of apology, say advocates

Callan Morse -

Advocates for Stolen Generations survivors say their families have been "betrayed yet again" after the Commonwealth's Closing the Gap annual report and implementation plan was tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

The initiative was put in place after then prime minister Kevin Rudd apologised to victims of the Stolen Generations in 2008, with current prime minister Anthony Albanese outlining the government's Implementation Plan to address the disadvantage gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples on the 16th anniversary of the apology in parliament on Tuesday.

Representatives of Noongar call to action group Yokai, a human rights initiative developed by the Bringing Them Home Committee (WA) and the WA Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation, say there have been "very few policies or funding programs" to respond to the needs of Stolen Generations and their families.

Co-chair of Bringing Them Home WA and Stolen Generations survivor, Tony Hansen, said it appears a demographic of Stolen Generations survivors "have missed out yet again", leading a growing feeling of betrayal.

"Sadly, people will read the Close the Gap Implementation Plan and listen to the words of the politicians on this significant anniversary and they will think that the majority of Aboriginal people in Australia live in remote communities in the Northern Territory and the Northern regions of Western Australia and Queensland. The facts do not back that up," Mr Hansen said.

"I live in suburban Perth and so do most of my Stolen Generations Survivor brothers and sisters. It appears that we have missed out yet again and the feeling of betrayal grows."

Mr Hansen said some excellent programs have been developed to support members of the Stolen Generations and their families, including those by The Healing Foundation, however they continue to receive limited funding.

West Australian Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation chair, Jim Morrison, said there is clear evidence of a "double gap" in health and wellbeing outcomes between Stolen Generations Survivors and families and the rest of the Aboriginal community.

"The Healing Foundation have worked with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare over recent years to research demographic data that focuses on the Stolen Generations," Mr Morrison said.

"The Make Healing Happen Report clearly outlines the 'gap within the gap'".

The Heating Foundations 'Make it Happen' Report states Stolen Generations survivors form a significantly disadvantaged subgroup within the already disadvantaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

"Through their testimony, survivors detailed a legacy of social and economic disadvantage flowing from their forced removal. This has been quantified in the AIHW analyses," the report reads.

"The analyses demonstrate the extent of additional disadvantage Stolen Generations survivors and their descendants have suffered as a result of being forcibly removed from their families and the abuse they suffered following removal, compared to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of the same age who were not removed."

Mr Morrison said it is time for Stolen Generations survivors and their families are considered as a priority in the Close the Gap implementation plans.

"In Western Australia, in particular, where Stolen Generations Survivors and their families make up over 56 per cent of the Adult Aboriginal Population, the need for action is urgent," he said.


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