MEDIA RELEASE: Interim Report from the Yoorrook Justice Commission gives Primacy to Elders’ Voices and lays Groundwork for Treaty

For media enquiries, please contact Evan Schuurman 0408 847 385 or evan.schuurman@yoorrook.org.au

July 4, 2022

MEDIA RELEASE

4 July 2022

INTERIM REPORT FROM THE YOORROOK JUSTICE COMMISSION GIVES PRIMACY TO ELDERS’ VOICES AND LAYS GROUNDWORK FOR TREATY

Victorian Elders have highlighted the urgency of truth telling to prevent injustices being repeated across further generations in the Yoorrook Justice Commission’s first Interim Report tabled in parliament today.

The report, the first from an Australian truth telling Commission, details Elders’ experiences of ongoing pain and harm to Victorian First Peoples at the individual, family, community and state level.

“The Yoorrook Justice Commission has heard from Elders across Victoria. We have recorded their truth and their stories. This first Interim Report relates how important it is to act on the issues they have raised,” said Yoorrook Justice Commission Chair Eleanor Bourke.

“Our Elders deserve to see change in their lifetimes.

“Each of the 200 Elders we spoke to pointed to the ongoing effects of discriminatory policies and racist beliefs, including those that led to the Stolen Generation; policies and beliefs that have not only affected them but continue to affect their children and grandchildren.

“Yoorrook Commissioners have seen a deep heaviness of heart and heard despair at the continuation of injustice.

“This is why the Yoorrook Justice Commission must offer a very different forum for truth telling and include new ways to bring about change in a contemporary environment, primarily through treaty,” said Chair Bourke.

In addition to the issues of concern raised by Elders, the first Interim Report, outlines the foundational work of the Yoorrook Justice Commission in establishing culturally appropriate and trauma-informed processes to ensure participant safety and wellbeing.

The Interim Report has identified significant issues warranting urgent and ongoing attention. A second report will make recommendations for consideration in the process of negotiating Treaty with the State.

“I have requested that the Governor amend the Letters Patent to ensure the delivery of a second report is included in the next phase of Yoorrook’s inquiry,” said Chair Bourke.

“Establishing Australia’s first truth telling commission is highly complex; Yoorrook’s mandate spans more than two hundred years of historic and ongoing injustices. Time is needed to ensure the best process, right for Community, so that we can create a more complete public record for all.

“The Yoorrook Justice Commission is deeply committed to continuing to seek truth, understanding and transformation for Victoria’s First Peoples,” said Chair Bourke.

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact Holly Crocket
Email: communications@yoorrook.org.au

Click here to access a PDF of our media statement

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