Stolen Generations, Aboriginal community organisations and non-Indigenous agencies in Victoria have long been advocating for a Reparations package from the time it was recommended in the Bringing Them Home Report 24 years ago.
In 2001 the Victorian Koorie Records Taskforce held community forums to focus on the implementation of Bringing Them Home Report recommendations. The purpose of these consultations was to raise awareness about how to access records and to learn about records access issues. The Taskforce consultations report notes that Reparations was raised at many of their community consultations, however, due to the focus of the Taskforce it was not able to be addressed.155
In 2008 the organisation then known as Stolen Generations Victoria published a report titled ‘Unfinished Business: Reparations, Restitution and Rehabilitation’ based on consultation with members of the Stolen Generations across Victoria. The purpose of these consultations was ‘aimed to communicate directly with members of the Stolen Generations within Victoria, hear their stories, share their tears and ascertain their needs’. The first recommendation in this report was Reparations for Stolen Generation. The other relevant recommendations from 2008 will be outlined further below in order to ensure that past voices of Stolen Generations are considered within this report.156
In February 2020, the Healing Foundation provided a submission to Victorian Government which recommended [The Victorian Government] ‘collaborates with other Australian governments and with Stolen Generations to co-design a universal, safe and culturally appropriate scheme for financial redress for Stolen Generations and their descendants.’ 157 As noted above in March 2020 that the Victorian Government, former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Gavin Jennings, announced a Reparations Scheme for Stolen Generations.
A number of Reparations and Redress Schemes across Australia, except in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory, have been accessible to Stolen Generations, although only three have focused specifically on Stolen Generations. The details of these are outlined in Appendix 3. To assist in the development of this report, the Steering Committee have sought the advice of former staff from the Tasmanian and South Australian Stolen Generations Reparations Schemes. The current New South Wales Stolen Generations Reparations Unit has also provided information to assist the Steering Committee in the development of Victorian Stolen Generations Reparations.
155 Koorie Records Taskforce, 2001, Finding Your Story - Community Forums Summary Report
156 Stolen Generations Victoria, 2008, Unfinished Business: Reparations, Restitution and Rehabilitation
157 Healing Foundation, 21 February 2020, Submission to Victoria Legislative Assembly and Social Issues Committee, Forced Adoptions Inquiry