Chair’s Foreword

Foreword provided by Ian Hamm, Chair of the Stolen Generations Reparations Steering Committee.

The establishment of Victorian Stolen Generations Reparations is a momentous step in addressing the unfinished business of the Stolen Generations and contributing to this process as the Chair of the Stolen Generations Reparations Steering Committee has been a privilege.

Victorian Stolen Generations have been advocating for Reparations for many years following the release of the Bringing Them Home Report in 1997. Every member of the Committee has long supported the need for a comprehensive response to the needs of the Stolen Children and their descendants.

Victoria has responded to the Bringing Them Home Report in the past with the establishment of organisations supporting Stolen Generations and other policy developments. However, full Reparations for Stolen Generations has remained unfinished business until now.

The Victorian Government is to be commended on its commitment to address this outstanding business and in the way they have asked the people who it is about, and for, Stolen Generations and family, to lead the design and development of Reparations.

The Steering Committee has been fortunate to speak with Stolen Generations and family across Victoria on what Reparations means to us. We know that Stolen Generations have told their stories over and over in order to achieve justice and we appreciate the time taken by all to speak again on the importance of Reparations. The themes we heard from consultation were in line with those from the Bringing Them Home and subsequent Stolen Generations reports. Stolen Generations in Victoria need recognition, service and policy changes and financial reparations to assist with cultural healing, belonging, re-building a strong identity, and a healthy way of life for us, our children and grandchildren.

This report addresses these concerns that are current for the Stolen Generations community in Victoria. It is recognised that a Reparations package itself cannot address all of the concerns raised, however, in developing this report we have made recommendations that extend Reparations into policy, research and service developments. It is the hope of the Steering Committee that this report reflects the diverse input of all Victorian Stolen Generations and provides clear guidelines to the Victorian Government and other agencies on how Stolen Generations can be supported to heal through a holistic Reparations model.

We know there is no amount of Reparations that can truly remedy the impacts of being taken from family, community, Culture and Country or how it affects our children and grandchildren. Reparations can however be seen as an opportunity for the Victorian Government to make amends for the past and create a path forward for Stolen Generations and family in Victoria.

I would like to thank the members of the Committee for their efforts and contribution in ensuring the robustness and completeness of this report. I also thank the Committee Secretariat for their professionalism and dedication in supporting the Committee in its deliberation. Lastly, I thank the Victorian Government and in particular the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs for commissioning of this report on the design of Victorian Stolen Generations Reparations.

Ian Hamm

Chair, Stolen Generations Reparations Steering Committee