Forgotten Aussies to get access to records
29th May 2012
The so-called Forgotten Australians will soon have access to 140,000 new records, a Senate hearing has been told.
Almost three years ago, then prime minister Kevin Rudd delivered a national apology to half a million people, including child migrants from Britain, sent to institutions, orphanages and foster homes where they suffered untold physical, sexual and psychological abuse.
During a Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday, Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs officials foreshadowed an announcement by minister Jenny Macklin.
Family Support Program branch manager Janet Stodulka said she expected Ms Macklin to announce details of an agreement reached with state governments over support for Forgotten Australians.
Ms Stodulka said 140,000 new records and 4000 photographs will be delivered to the Forgotten Australians.
Ms Macklin also will announce a new national find-and-connect support service system.
The hearing was told Ms Macklin would announce in June, $10.5 million towards the find-and-connect support services between now and 2013/14.
West Australian Greens senator Rachel Siewert asked the department why a service provider from her home state had been rejected for money under the program.
Ms Stodulka said the provider had not properly demonstrated its independence from past providers of care - welfare institutions and orphanages.
Senator Siewert said successful service providers in other states had links to past providers of care but had not been penalised.
Ms Stodulka said that was true however organisations needed to demonstrate how they would manage those relationships to give confidence to Forgotten Australians the service was independent.
She admitted the department had not spoken to any WA victims about whether the applicant was satisfactory to them and had demonstrated a separation.
But the department said it had spoken to the WA government about the issue.
The hearing was told South Australia's find-and-connect service provider also had not been finalised.