The Victorian Government has announced a redress scheme for members of the Stolen Generations to address the trauma inflicted from a time when families were forcibly torn apart.
The first of its kind, Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Gavin Jennings announced a $10 million investment last week into developing a scheme that will directly benefit Stolen Generations members and their families.
A redress scheme was a significant item raised at the first meeting of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, a group of Aboriginal Victorians elected by the state to establish a Treaty framework.
Although no concrete decisions have been made on what the scheme will look like, the Andrews Government has said it is committed to investigating a range of redress options, including:
- Redress payments
- Counselling support
- A funeral or memorial fund
- Helping members to tell their stories
- Ensuring support during the redress application process.
“We say sorry, but the words are not enough – redress is about tangible support for people who are still suffering, many years on from this horrific policy,” Premier Andrews said.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), members of the Stolen Generations aged 50 and over suffer disproportionate rates of health, social and economic disadvantage.
They are almost three times as likely to be reliant on welfare as a main income source and twice as likely as non-members to have poor health.
The Victorian Premier said his Government will be guided by the voices of Stolen Generations members as they “take action to right these wrongs”.
Minister Jennings also said the scheme was about giving members the “recognition, respect and support they deserve”.
The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has voiced its support for the scheme, saying it’s a “crucial step towards righting past wrongs”.
“Truth and justice are the founding principles of any successful redress scheme. This scheme must prioritise healing and empower those affected to shape the form of redress they receive,” said Commissioner Kristen Hilton.
The redress scheme will sit parallel with other Stolen Generations initiatives, including the Koorie Family History Service and Connecting Home Limited.
Initial consultations are to be undertaken this year, with the scheme aiming to begin in 2021.
By Hannah Cross