Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt has urged Queenslanders to get behind National Sorry Day (Tuesday 26 May).
Mr Pitt said National Sorry Day was an opportunity to commemorate and remember those who had been impacted by government policies of forcible removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.
“Today is a day of reflection, as we express regret for the historical mistreatment of Indigenous Australians,” he said.
“It’s difficult to fathom that not that long ago in our nation’s history, children were forcibly taken from their mothers for over 60 years.
“Today we remember the profound grief, suffering and loss on our Stolen Generations, their families and communities.
“We also continue to direct our focus and attention on closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in health, education, employment and economic opportunity.
“Closing the gap requires a coordinated response right across all levels of government and working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
Following a Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission inquiry, the first National Sorry Day was held in 1998, following the report “Bringing them Home” being tabled in parliament the year prior.
The report documented painful evidence of the forced removal of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families between 1910 and 1970.
Mr Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government was righting an historic wrong by compensating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders who had their wages stolen.
“That’s why we’ve created a $21 million compensation fund for those affected by these discriminatory policies, in what was one of the darkest periods in the State’s history,” he said.
“I know that we can never erase the hurt and sorrow caused by past actions but we can seek to rectify past injustice by properly compensating those affected.”