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Petition for Stolen Generations redress tabled in WA parliament

Emma Ruben -

A petition launched by Stolen Generations survivors in Western Australia calling for a state redress scheme has officially been tabled in parliament.

WA Greens MP Brad Pettitt, who has long backed the petition for the state government to compensate Stolen Generations survivors, tabled it Thursday.

"This morning I was very honoured to present a petition with over 1,300 signatures actually calling for government to look at what other states and territories have done around compensation for Stolen Generations," Dr Pettitt said.

"WA is now one of the last states...we're a rich state, we can afford to do it, so what I'm really hoping is it does put it back on the government's agenda.

"Now's an opportunity for us to look at what the best practice is and get on and finish some of the important work in the reconciliation process."

In May of this year, Bringing Them Home WA, Yokai and Kimberley Stolen Generation Aboriginal Corporation launched a petition urging the WA government to follow other states and territories.

Robert Isaacs, Jim Morrison, Tony Hansen, Alan Carter and Greens MP Brad Pettitt outside WA Parliament House. Photo Credit: Emma Ruben.

Western Australia and Queensland are the only two Australian jurisdictions without a compensation scheme in place.

Co-chair of Bringing Them Home WA and Stolen Generations survivor, Tony Hansen, said unfortunately many of the WA Stolen Generation have passed on without seeing a redress scheme in place.

"Sadly many of our people have died sitting in aged care facilities," he said.

"The time is now for us as a state to compensate the Stolen Generation people and acknowledge the past histories of the atrocities that took place.

"What we ask is the premier and his cabinet to stand together and with the opposition to make healing happen for us as Stolen Generation people in this state."

Mr Hansen said the Victorian model for Stolen Generations redress had the potential to work well in WA.

"I think that's a great opportunity to use that model because it gives a compensation, it looks at healing centres and counselling opportunities for our people," he said.

"But it also provides funeral packages for our loved ones who have passed away.

"We know how expensive it is to bury our loved ones and those that are on the low end of the scale are really struggling in terms of finding the funds to bury their loved ones."

WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti said the State Government has committed to reviewing the petition, particularly regarding a redress scheme.

"The forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families, their country, and their culture is one of the most shameful chapters in Australian history, which has resulted in trauma and pain," he said.

"While there is no simple solution, particularly for social issues that have been generations in the making, the WA Government is very committed to a more dignified and prosperous future for Aboriginal people.

"It's acknowledged that funding alone will never be able to make up for the pain and suffering endured by members of the Stolen Generations.

"But we can commit ourselves to truth-telling and support the healing process."

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