Federal Labor welcomes the report released today, ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Stolen Generations and descendants: numbers, demographic characteristics and selected outcomes’.
Collated by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), in partnership with The Healing Foundation, the report details the direct link between forced removal and the real-life symptoms of intergenerational trauma, which has rippled through the generations.
The comprehensive data paints a contemporary picture of the lived experience of Stolen Generation survivors. It details the alarming levels of chronic health issues and economic and social disadvantage.
But this is not the first report into the experience of the Stolen Generations. It comes twenty years after the historic Bringing Them Home Report, and there have been some 20 reports into their experience which they have bravely given evidence to.
After all the reports, what is still lacking is action, through compensation and policy response.
A Shorten Labor Government will respond to the legacy of pain and trauma that the Stolen Generations, their families and their communities continue to experience today.
A Shorten Labor Government will establish a Stolen Generations Compensation Scheme.
To each of the survivors removed from their families, country and culture we will offer an ex gratia payment of $75,000. As well as a one-off payment of $7000 to ensure the costs of their funeral are covered.
10 years on from the historic National Apology, this compensation is about resolving unfinished business. Of course, this was also a recommendation of the Bringing them Home report.
We recognise that regrettably, this fund comes too late for many members of the Stolen Generations – we acknowledge those who have not lived to see this justice delivered.
A Shorten Labor Government will also establish a $10 million National Healing Fund to be administered by the Healing Foundation, for programs that assist Stolen Generation members and their descendants, nation-wide.
Reflecting on the traumatic history of forced removal in Australia, we cannot neglect to recognise the unacceptably high rates of First Nations child removal today.
In recent years, the number of First Nations children removed from their families has risen rapidly. In 2017, more than 17,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were living in out-of-home care, compared with about 9,000 a decade ago.
To respond to these unacceptably high rates of out-of-home-care, a Shorten Labor Government will convene a national summit on First Nations Children in our first 100 days.
The summit will bring governments and experts together to determine the different factors that lead to child removal, work on solutions to reduce the rates of out-of-home care, and new approaches to building strong and stable First Nations families.
Federal Labor wishes to thank The Healing Foundation for their ongoing commitment to supporting Stolen Generations through a range of services such as counselling, family reunion, return to country, and support for elderly survivors.
Most importantly, Federal Labor wishes to acknowledge the over 17,000 members of the Stolen Generations who are still alive today, their families, and their communities who continue to demonstrate resilience in the face of perpetual injustice.