Today, as we commemorate the 16th anniversary of the national apology to the Stolen Generations, advocates underscore the urgency of addressing a glaring gap in Aboriginal disadvantage. Aging survivors of the Stolen Generations, who are in desperate need of redress, represent this significant void. The National Healing Foundation stresses the critical necessity of enhancing compensation schemes for Stolen Generations survivors across Australia.
A Cry for Justice
William Tilmouth, a Stolen Generations survivor, is leading the charge for change. He is calling for immediate action to improve compensation schemes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care. Instead of focusing on crisis-driven approaches, Tilmouth emphasizes the importance of prevention strategies. Indigenous leaders and organizations, including Knowmore Legal Services and The Healing Foundation, join Tilmouth in advocating for adequate compensation for survivors within their lifetime.
A Stark Reality
The statistics paint a grim picture. First Nations children are disproportionately represented in out-of-home care, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children being 10.5 times more likely to be removed from their families than non-Indigenous children. Despite efforts to close the gap, the target of reducing the rate of First Nations children in out-of-home care by 45% by 2031 is not on track. These figures underscore the urgent need for reform in compensation schemes and community-based initiatives.
A Plea for Action
On this poignant anniversary, advocates are urging individuals to engage with and pressure the governments of Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales, and Tasmania. The goal is to establish or improve their stolen generations compensation schemes, aligning them with Victoria's benchmark. Tilmouth emphasizes the importance of personal involvement in this process, stating, "Your voice matters. Together, we can make a difference."
The 16-year milestone since the national apology serves as a stark reminder of the work that still needs to be done. As Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, asserts, "fundamental government changes" are necessary to address the entrenched inequality experienced by Indigenous Australians. The Healing Foundation also highlights the urgency of providing consistent and adequate compensation to Stolen Generations survivors. The Albanese Government's recent announcement of a $707 million investment in a new Remote Jobs program to create employment opportunities for First Nations people is a step in the right direction.
As we reflect on the past and look towards the future, it is clear that the journey towards healing and justice for the Stolen Generations is far from over. The fight for adequate compensation and support for survivors continues, and it is up to all of us to ensure their voices are heard.