Committee backs reparations for Stolen Generations

ABORIGINAL Affairs Minister Leslie Williams has apologised to the Stolen Generations after receiving a new report recommending the establishment of a compensation scheme for survivors.

An Upper House committee was set up to review the NSW Government's response to the 1997 Bringing Them Home report, which made 50 recommendations.

The parliamentary inquiry found the State Government had been lacklustre, and made 35 new recommendations.

"Today I make my own apology to the Stolen Generations. Past government practice had a profound effect on Aboriginal people," Mrs Williams said.

"Stolen Generations survivors have demonstrated exceptional strength and resilience in bringing their experience to light."

Among the recommendations of the report, subtitled "Unfinished business", were calls for reparations to be paid and funding for healing programs to help survivors and their families.

It also called for the Federal Government to create a special health care card for Stolen Generations survivors, giving them better access to health services and reduced costs for medication.

Public Interest Advocacy Centre chief executive officer Edward Santow said the reforms were long overdue.

"We are pleased to see that the parliamentary committee unanimously recommended a reparations scheme and other measures to help address the injustices inflicted on members of the Stolen Generations," he said.

"We welcome the recommendation to re-open the stolen wages scheme, which aimed to return millions of dollars in unpaid wages to Aboriginal people and their descendants.

"The NSW Government must act now to implement these unanimous recommendations, without delay.

"If this report gathers dust, waiting many more years for implementation, the parliament and the NSW Government will have failed members of the Stolen Generations yet again." -ARM NEWSDESK

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