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On the 10th anniversary of the National Apology, the AASW renews its call for action and justice

Published: 12 February 2018

The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) today renews its call for immediate action from Australian governments in working with Indigenous leaders and communities towards reconciliation and social justice.

AASW National President Christine Craik said, “Tomorrow marks ten years since the Australian Government formally apologised for the devastating impacts that policies from consecutive governments have had on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“While this was an important step, little has changed.

“As the Close the Gap reports continue to highlight every year, there is a staggering level on inequality for Indigenous people across many areas including health, education and employment outcomes. For example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are now nearly 10 times more likely to be removed from their family as non-Indigenous children.

“Two decades after the Bringing Them Home report and ten years after the Apology, the number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care only seems to be growing.

“This is a national crisis that requires a comprehensive and systematic approach that explores the social, historical, economic and cultural factors that entrench and perpetuate these injustices. This includes a greater investment in early intervention and family support services.

“Governments need to begin by listening to Indigenous communities.

“It’s very obvious that mainstream, ‘white’ ways of thinking to address the issues stemming from multiple forms of oppression, do not work. As we have said previously, consultation and partnership with Indigenous leaders and groups needs to be the priority. Central to this is an Indigenous leadership role in the decision-making and Indigenous voices being heard and respected.

“Until this occurs, we will fail to see meaningful change.

“For social workers, the anniversary of the National Apology is also an important day for reflection and commitment to action. In particular, we reflect on the strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples and the role that our profession has in working towards reconciliation and a more just Australia.”


Media contact
Angela Yin
Communications Lead
P 03 9320 1005 M 0413 532 954

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers