The Apology, made on 13 February 2008, recognised previous government policies that resulted in the indiscriminate removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families from the 1910s through to the 1970s.
These policies had a profound and painful impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. Many of these people have not been reunited with their siblings, parents and/or extended family. Many are still impacted by severe grief and trauma.
The Department of Health and Human Service held an all staff afternoon tea event at the Rydges Hotel in Melbourne to commemorate this occasion, where staff had the opportunity to hear from a range of speakers with varying insights:
- Kym Peake, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services
- Anne Congleton, Deputy Secretary, Community Participation and Health and Wellbeing
- Aunty Dianne Kerr, Wurundjeri Elder and Victorian Honour Roll recipient
- John Baxter , Aboriginal community member, Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll recipient and Manager, Brotherhood of St Laurence (National Disability Insurance Scheme)
- Julie Peers, Aboriginal community member and former shop owner – amongst many other achievements
- Tracey Evans Ravenhall, Manager, Aboriginal Programs and Connecting Homes, and Deputy Chair, Correctional Centre.
The event was a powerful reminder for the need for locally designed and implemented models of care that are flexible, culturally safe and trauma informed.
On 5 October 2017, Jill Hennessy MP, Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, launched the Korin Korin Balit-Djak: Aboriginal health, wellbeing and safety strategic plan 2017–2027.
The strategic plan provides an overarching framework for action to improve the health, wellbeing and safety of Aboriginal Victorian’s over the next 10 years.
On 24 October 2017, Martin Foley MP, Minister for Mental Health launched the Balit Murrup: Aboriginal social and emotional wellbeing framework.
The cornerstone of Balit Murrup is the integration of healing, trauma-informed care and recovery-oriented approaches across the spectrum of prevention and intervention strategies. Its goal is to reduce the health gap attributed to suicide, mental illness and psychological distress between Aboriginal Victorians and the general population.