The Healing Foundation says the Morrison Government’s 2021-22 Federal Budget offered glimmers of hope but the key to advancement lies in the implementation of Tuesday’s announcements.
The national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation works closely with First Nations families and communities to address the significant trauma caused by the forced removal of children from their families through race-based policies set up by both State and Federal Governments from 1910 to the 1970s.
CEO, Fiona Cornforth said they would have liked to have seen more First Nations communities and organisations leading the design, delivery, and planning of Budget initiatives to ensure safety and wellbeing for our communities.
“What we need to see is how things play out, how those announcements and commitments are implemented is more important than the announcements themselves.
“What we’d like to see more of, which we know works particularly for healing, is our Mob and communities leading out the initiatives, and us always being at the table,” she said.
“As we’ve seen with COVID-19, and protecting our communities from COVID, it really is our big network of Community Controlled Organisations, together with our allies and partners that know how to get the job done to ensure safety and wellbeing for our communities.”
The Wuthathi woman said there was little in the Budget to support the healing of Stolen Generations survivors or their descendants.
“There is nothing obvious. We saw a lot of opportunity to work alongside more sectors, and systems, and workforces to ensure there was a trauma-aware healing-informed lens… this all about addressing that intergenerational-trauma.”
“So again, it goes into how they’re going to implement this, if we’re at the table and able to offer our expertise around how things are done safely for Stolen Generations, then that’s hopeful, that opportunity. We’re going to keep finding a way to have that influence and to have that seat at the table.”
Under the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap, the Australian government will deliver an Implementation Plan on Closing the Gap in July 2021, led by the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt.
Fiona Cornforth is optimistic the mid-year announcements will create a clearer picture around what funding will go towards supporting the healing of Stolen Generations survivors, their families, and their communities.