Diocese says Healing requires better outcomes for Indigenous Children

The social justice office of the Queensland Diocese of Toowoomba has issued a statement for today's National Day of Reconcliation, focusing on the plight of Indigenous children.

"We do well every year to remember the disastrous policy of breaking up Indigenous families over the past two hundred years," said Mark Copland of the Diocesan Social Justice Commission.

Today marks the eighth anniversary of the Bringing Them Home Report, which traced the history and fate of the so-called 'Stolen Generation' of Aboriginal children who were removed from their families under Government policy.

Mr Copland said that the recent Indigenous Report Card released by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) provides us with clear and concrete pathways to bring about better health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

"More then 1100 Indigenous babies are born annually with a low birth weight or prematurely," he said. "These children are destined to a life of poor health."

"As the AMA pleads, 'How many more must be born to suffer through our inaction?' Our federal government recently recorded a $34.6 billion surplus and yet allocated less then 10% of what is required to address the current crisis in Indigenous health. Basic health and education is not a "hand out" - nor is it an expression of so-called "practical reconciliation" it is an entitlement for all Australian children."

Meanwhile other dioceses in Queensland are promoting a special education resource kit (pictured) produced for today's National Day of Healing (May 26) and for National Reconciliation Week (May 27 - June 3).

The resource kit, using the theme of National Reconciliation Week 2005, Reconciliation - Take the Next Step, was launched in Brisbane earlier this month.

Agencies which worked on the kit included Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission and Murri Ministry Team, Toowoomba's Catholic Social Justice Commission and Catholic Education Office, and the Edmund Rice Indigenous Ministry Unit.

The kit contains liturgy and prayer resources for use by parishes, schools and groups as well as background information on issues such as the Stolen Generations and the Stolen Wages Campaign.

It has been distributed to parishes and schools in both diocese and is available as web resource on the Brisbane Commission website.

Better Outcomes for Indigenous Children Vital for National Healing to Occur (Social Justice Commission, Diocese of Toowoomba)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Journey of Healing
Truthfulness - A Foundation for Justice - kit for Parish and Community Use during National Healing Week 2005 (Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane)
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Commission

'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples cannot heal alone' (Insights 25/5/05)
Sr Patty Fawkner: Reconciliation - stalled or fermenting? (Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre 24/5/05)
Reconciliation: Take the Next Step (Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane)
Reconciliation Week Resource Launched (Archdiocese of Brisbane)

26 May 2005