Barwon Health recognises Stolen Generations apology

Monday, 13 February 2017.

BARWON Health has marked the ninth anniversary of the government’s apology to the Stolen Generations with a commitment to improving health care for indigenous Australians. 

Speaking to about 75 people in a ceremony at Barwon Health’s Library and Research Centre today, Acting CEO Robyn Hayles said Australia’s history of forced removals while accessing hospitals had made them a place to fear for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

“Aboriginal health is everyone’s responsibility, and one that Barwon Health takes very seriously,” she said.

“We are committed to working towards reconciliation and to developing collaborative relationships with local Aboriginal peoples.

“Striving for an improved quality of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly in areas such as health, education and employment is essential for achieving equity for all.

“Barwon Health continues to work to address these practicalities through the expansion of the Aboriginal Health team, addressing priorities in our Reconciliation Action Plan, the redevelopment of our Aboriginal Employment Plan, and increased outreach services to Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative.”

As part of the ceremony, Aunty Colleen Howell (pictured above) shared her experience as a child of the Stolen Generations and her life journey to understand her identity and family history.

“I was in Canberra for the speech of Kevin Rudd and it was amazing. The amount of indigenous people on the greens with me were all crying,” she said.

“It’s not the sympathy we want, it was the recognition that these things did happen, and there’s thousands of our people out there who still don’t know where they come from.”

Ms Hayles said Barwon Health recognised that access to medical services was a vital key determinant of good health for Geelong’s indigenous community.

“We are committed to ensuring better access and culturally-sensitive care for all Aboriginal people accessing our health services,” she said.

Media contact – ph. (03) 4215 1119

Traditional Owners

We, Barwon Health, acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land, the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to the Elders both past and present.