By Matthew Lau
A Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) that will aim to work closely with the Aboriginal community and victims of the Stolen Generation was recently announced by Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton.
From 1910 to 1970, numerous Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families as a result of various government policies to be cared for in Government run institutions and Church missions
The multitudes of children removed under these policies became known as the Stolen Generations.
In a letter marking the anniversary of the National Apology by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Bishop Sproxton renewed the apology of the Archdiocese of Perth for the role it played in the forced removal of children.
A RAP is a method of strengthening relationships with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
A Reconciliation Plan, said Bishop Sproxton, will call on each member of the Archdiocese of Perth to grow in understanding, become action focused and intent on making a difference.
Bishop Sproxton said the Catholic community would strive to continue to work with the survivors of the Stolen Generation and their families
“This is carried out through various ministries and services of the Catholic community who work alongside these families on a daily basis such as Daydawn Advocacy Centre, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Shopfront, St Vincent de Paul Society, Caritas Australia Catholic Missions along with schools and hospitals.
Chairman of the Bishops Commission for Relations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, Bishop Eugene Hurley, said significant efforts were continued to be made.
“Indigenous Australians are over-represented in prisons, struggle to find suitable housing and out-of-home care, and experience racism on a daily basis,” he said.
“The Church wishes to reaffirm and record our commitment to continue the healing process for the benefit of victims of the unjust policies of the past, to support the just needs of Indigenous people today and to contribute to the quest for national reconciliation.”
Bishop Hurley said the apology and the anniversary of it was a symbol of hope.
“We must build this hope for a better future by ensuring that in full consultation with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, practical steps are taken to address the grossly entrenched disadvantages many of our First Nations brothers and sister endure every day. Now is the time to move forward and live out the promises made 10 years ago.”