Newcastle raises flag to mark 10 years since National Apology to the Stolen Generation

Newcastle raises Aboriginal flag to mark 10 years since National Apology to the Stolen Generation Picture: Max Mason-Hubers
老域名出售

Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

TweetFacebookTHE Hunter’s Indigenous leaders have praised theNational Apology to the Stolen Generations as an “enormous feat”, while lamentingthe lack of progress in the pastdecade to close the gap.

Newcastle City Council raised the Aboriginalflag in Civic Park on Tuesday to commemoratethe 10thanniversary of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologisingon behalf of the country for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and for government actions thatinflicted suffering.

About 50 people gatheredto hear from Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive Rob Russell and Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive Andrew Smith.

Cr Nelmes said February 13 was a date that “must never be forgotten”.

“I don’t think we can underestimatewhat an enormous feat it was by Kevin Rudd to get up in front of all of and all the world to say sorry 10 years ago today,” Mr Russell said.

“Unfortunately… when you look at the lack of achievement by governments–in making reparations for the harm that’s been done,for the outrageous historical trauma that they’ve caused and continue to cause today–they need to give themselves an uppercut and say ‘We could have done much more and we’ve done basically bugger-all except for talk about it’.

“The time for talking was over a long, longtime ago.”

Mr Smith said the apology was a“great step towards real reconciliation” and had“opened eyes to the real history of black ” but hadn’t“delivered on outcomes it was designed to achieve”.

The10th annual Closing the Gap progress report tabled on Mondayshowed onlythree of seven targets were on track.

Mr Russell said he wanted to see an Indigenousvoice in Parliament.

“There’s been some movements forward in terms of education but next is health, housing and employment–they’re inseparable,” he said.

“But if they don’t have an Aboriginal voice helping them it’s just top down government.”

Kamilaroi woman Jamaya Wightman, 22, said it was an “honour” to help raise the flag.

Ms Wightman grew up in Boggabillaand said Indigenous peopleneeded more access to healthcare and education so the next generation, including herone year old daughter Khaleesi, could have a better life.

“Most people don’t have the opportunities to leave small country towns, but I had to leave because there weren’t opportunities back home,” she said.

“In cities there’s good stuff but there’s not much help being put back into small country towns, especially where I’m from.

“I went to a small school and don’t feel my education was what I wish it could have been if I went to school here.I want my daughter to have the opportunities I did not have.”

Apprentice painter and Bundjalung manMark Walker, 20, said the ceremony was an opportunity to “bring everyone together” and catch up with his family.

He said the apology was “recognition after 200 years”.

“It was a big lift and made everyone feel a bit better,” he said.

“A little bit has changed since then but we still have a long way to go. We’re slowly getting there.”

Cr Nelmes said the council had a Reconciliation Action Plan and a 1998 Commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Newcastle policy.

The city celebrated in August last year the 40thanniversary of former Lord Mayor Joy Cummings’ decision to be the country’s first council to fly the Aboriginal flag from a civic building.