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Redress, a step on the path to healing in Victoria

Reparations a step on the path to healing in Victoria

'A well executed redress plan would assist Aboriginal Victorians and help lift them out of poverty and address the numerous social stresses that affect their daily lives.' The Stolen Generations Redress Victoria Discussion Paper 2017.

Victorian Stolen Generations survivors and their families welcome the announcement and the discussion of a Redress Scheme that is now on the table with the Victorian state government.

The announcement was made by the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service at the Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations morning tea held at the Preston Town Hall Darebin.  

The next steps in the process is a Compensation Information Session on March 1 for members of the Stolen Generations and their families in Victoria.

'We are sick of the political dithering, we want a clear straight answer from the government.' 

Ten years after the National Apology, Victoria is the only state in Australia that does not have a Redress or Reparations Scheme for Stolen Generations.

A national compensation fund was Recommendation 3 of 54 recommendations in the Bringing Them Home Report for actions by government, churches and the community to assist and provide justice for removed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.  

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and a delegation of Elders have addressed the legal priority of Redress with the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in Victoria, Natalie Hutchins.

VALS, Link-Up (VIC) and Connecting Home have set the date of Sorry Day on May 26 as the cut off for an answer from the Victorian state government.

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service Senior Project Officer Alister McKeich says the meeting with Minster Hutchins provided a space for Elders to have a voice and ask why there has not been a push from the Victorian state government for Redress.

McKeich says 'We are sick of the political dithering, we want a clear straight answer from the government.'

He says they met to set the challenge in a legal and moral sense as there is an urgency. Elders are passing away before they see any form of compensation and support for what they've endured due to the impact of the historical Australian removal policies towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.  

'It doesn't just end with the generation of Elders that were removed. It is passed on with the children and Grandchildren as well, once they become of age they have to deal with that legacy.'

The Stolen Generations Redress Victoria Discussion Paper issued in November 2017 by VALS outlines what a Redress Scheme would like and and why it is important.

'The paper is a gathering of information over the years of a collective knowledge on what the community wants.'

The legal process of Redress and Reparations includes a financial offer and assistance for healing that can include different options for health and other services including funeral funds and headstones for people who have already passed away and been buried in paupers graves.

The Stolen Generations Redress Victoria Discussion Paper (p9) cites 'As such, a well executed redress plan would assist Aboriginal Victorians and help lift them out of poverty and address the numerous social stresses that affect their daily lives.'

The research from the paper questions what Cultural Loss means for survivors and documents the impacts of trauma listed from the Bringing Them Home (1997) and Betrayal of Trust Report's (2013).

Alister McKeich says the Redress Scheme in Victoria would support descendants of members of the Stolen Generations. 

'We need to acknowledge this is an inter-generational trauma that is occurring. It doesn't just end with the generation of Elders that were removed. It is passed on with the children and Grandchildren as well, once they become of age they have to deal with that legacy.'

View NITV Radio's online Explainer on the Price of Unfinished Business for Stolen Generations

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