Implementing Bringing Them Home
THE HON TERRY ROBERTS MLC
SOUTH AUSTRALIAN MINISTER FOR ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS AND RECONCILIATION
May I begin by acknowledging and paying my respects to the Eora Nation whose land you are standing on today.
May I also pay respect to all those of the Stolen Generation who are in attendance and those family and friends who have also paid a terrible price and continue to do so today.
The South Australian Government is committed to implementing the recommendation of the Bringing Them Home Report.
This Report spelled out the tragedy of the Stolen Generations, and the serious impact we still witness today on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Indeed, it is not simply a tragedy for the Stolen Generation because it has devastated family, friends and the wider community.
To begin to walk the long road home, the Stolen Generation have to trace their family history. The difficulty in tracing anyone’s history is compounded for the Stolen Generation by the difficulty in finding a starting point because of the circumstances associated with the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
September 11th 2002 has become a landmark day for South Australia’s Indigenous people, following the unlocking of Government agency records dealing with the Stolen Generations.
Memoranda of Understanding have been signed by the National Archives, State Records, the State Library, the office of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and Nunkuwarrin Yunti of SA’s Link Up program.
The deal a first for an Australian State – provides access for South Australia’s Indigenous people to records which link the Stolen Generations to their family and their past. The agreement also means the agencies will waive the usual fees associated with accessing and copying records.
The Memoranda of Understanding are the direct result of the Bringing Them Home report into the Stolen Generations.
The South Australian Labor Government is pleased the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding between Nunkuwarrin Yunti’s Link Up program and the Government agencies will assist Indigenous people to find their way home.
It is one small act to help ease the burden.
The S.A. Link Up team is one of several throughout Australia, funded by ATSIC, to trace and reunite Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families affected by the Stolen Generations. The program also helps people who have been adopted, fostered, or raised in institutions, as well as the families of people who have been separated from their children.
In addition to this initiative, and in accordance with the Partnering Agreement between the South Australian State Government and ATSIC, the Department of State Aboriginal Affairs has convened a revitalised Bringing Them Home Key Advisory Group to:
Reaffirm agency commitments to the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home report;
Identify gaps and priorities leading to the development of solutions, options and recommendations for future progress;
Collate and monitor progress in relation to commitments;
Provide an annual progress report to Cabinet and at the national level as determined by MCATSIA.
The Advisory Group is chaired by the Department of State Aboriginal Affairs and comprises senior level representation nominated by Chief Executives from the following agencies:
Department of Human Services;
Department for Transport Urban Planning and the Arts;
Department of the Premier and Cabinet;
Department of Administrative and Information Services;
Department of Justice;
Department of Education and Children’s Services;
The Bringing Them Home Key Advisory Group also has representation from ATSIC, SA Link-Up, the Department of Employment Further Education Science and Small Business, and the Uniting Church.
Members of the Bringing Them Home Key Advisory Group are currently in the process of collating their respective agency’s progress which is being coordinated by the Department of State Aboriginal Affairs. Key areas of progress reported to date include the following activities.
These are some of the initiatives being undertaken by the South Australian Government and, as the South Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, I am pleased to be given this opportunity to make this public statement.
MEDIA CONTACT: Dominic O’Grady, Media and Communications Officer,
Public Interest Advocacy Centre. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169