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'Better days ahead': WA Aboriginal Affairs minister addresses Stolen Generations survivors

Tom Zaunmayr -

WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti has heralded better days ahead in his Sorry Day address to Stolen Generations survivors.

Speaking from Carnarvon in WA's northwest on Thursday morning, Mr Buti said he held hope strides would be made in coming years to help survivors and their descendants heal.

His comments come days after Labor claimed victory in the Federal election with a promise to hold a referendum to enshrine a First Nations Voice to Parliament in its first term.

"The first thing Mr Albanese said in his acceptance speech was that his government would commit "in full" to the Uluru Statement from the Heart," Mr Buti said.

"To that end, Australia's incoming Indigenous Affairs Minister - Wiradjuri woman Linda Burney â€" has committed to a referendum to enshrine the Voice in the constitution.

"So I believe - as we gather today to reflect openly and honestly about the shame of policies that enabled dispossession and removal of children from families â€" that there are brighter days ahead."

Mr Buti said this year's event, marking 25 years since the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Federal parliament, was poignant.

The day also marks 50 years since WA's Native Welfare Act which made the government responsible for custody and education of Indigenous children was repealed.

It also comes amid fresh calls for the State to compensate Stolen Generations survivors, with a new petition launched online on Thursday urging the government to do so.

WA and Queensland are the only Australian states yet to do so and Mr Buti has promised to review the petition.

"It never ceases to resonate that such abhorrent laws and practices only became illegal in this state just half a century ago," Mr Buti said.

"In the decades since, there have been some significant milestones... however, I know the road to progress and better understanding has often been marked with detours."

Mr Buti reflected on his own experience with the Bringing Them Home report while serving as a lawyer for the Aboriginal Legal Service of WA in the 1990s.

He said the submission the service prepared for the national inquiry was among the most impactful work he had undertaken in his career.


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