• Greens MP Lidia Thorpe with members of the Stolen Generation. (Julian Meehan)Source: Julian Meehan
21 years after the Bringing Them Home Report, Victoria is still the only state that hasn't implemented a compensation scheme.
Madeline Hayman-Reber

19 Oct 2018 - 5:14 PM  UPDATED 19 Oct 2018 - 5:14 PM

The Victorian Greens are calling on the Andrews Labor government to implement a $110 million package to compensate members of that state's Stolen Generations.

The announcement was made by Gunnai-Kurnai and Gunditjmara woman and member for Northcote, Lidia Thorpe, flanked by Elders.

"Our Stolen Generations members have waited far too long. 21 years since the Bringing Them Home report and what are we waiting for? Are we waiting for our people to die off?" Ms Thorpe questioned.

"We're also calling for $10 million for keeping places, for aged care services for our Stolen Generations members, and we're also calling for a consultation process around the state for healing places." 

The Bringing Them Home report, which was published in 1997, made the recommendation of financial compensation for victims of the Stolen Generations on a national level.

Since then, every state in Australia except Victoria has financially compensated Stolen Generations in state government level schemes.

While the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Natalie Hutchins did not comment on the proposal of a state redress scheme, she said the Andrews Labor Government supported a national redress scheme, as recommended by the Bringing Them Home Report.

“We know that the past policies and practices of forcible removal of Aboriginal children have been devastating — that’s why we continue to push for a national redress scheme, in line with the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home report," Minister Hutchins told NITV News in a statement.

Victorian Labor said they have taken action towards several other elements of reparations for Stolen Generations members.

These include a formal apology in the Victorian Parliament, restitution and rehabilitation for members of the Stolen Generations, and broader efforts to address Aboriginal disadvantage and dispossession.

But for many, financial compensation is about justice.

Stolen Generations member Aunty Lyn Austin is a pensioner who also looks after her grandson as a full-time carer. For her, compensation is mostly about justice, but also a way to make ends meet.

"I've been coming and standing on [Victorian Parliament] steps for 21 years since the Bringing Them Home Report, campaigning," Aunty Lyn said.

"I may as well have shares in the steps here, I'm living here all the time and we're going to keep coming back. We're not going to stop the fight until Stolen Generations get justice, rights, and compensated."

Uncle Talgium Edwards, who was given a criminal record for being taken under the Children's Welfare Act, compensation would mean being able to help support his family now and after he is gone.

"It'd mean the world to me," he said. "If I was able to give some to my children to make sure they're alright."

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