Held annually on 26 May since 1998, National Sorry Day honours the resilience and self-determination of Aboriginal people who have been impacted by the forced removal of babies and children from their families.
This year, the Secretary, NSW Health, Susan Pearce, made a formal apology on behalf of the NSW Health system to survivors of the Stolen Generations and acknowledged the many Aboriginal children who were admitted to our hospitals and never returned to their families and communities.
While past government policies very much still impact the health and wellbeing of our Aboriginal families today, we hope that our Apology marks a significant milestone in our history and embraces truth-telling and the ongoing process of healing for our Aboriginal communities.
The full Apology on behalf of NSW Health can be read below.
Today, on behalf of NSW Health, we say sorry to the survivors of the Stolen Generations. We extend this apology to the mothers, families and descendants of the Stolen Generations. We pay our respects to all Elders, past, present and emerging, and acknowledge the unrelenting resilience of Aboriginal people and their culture.
I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering caused by taking children from their families, from their communities, from their land, and denying them their language and their cultural birthrights. I am profoundly sorry that the institutions managed by NSW Health, and its predecessor agencies, played a role in the forced removal of Aboriginal children and babies.
NSW Health acknowledges that many Aboriginal children who were admitted to our hospitals did not return to their siblings, their families and their communities. I sincerely apologise for the impact of the role NSW Health had in the forced removal of Aboriginal children from our hospitals and institutions.
We are committed to working in genuine partnership with Aboriginal people, communities and survivors of the Stolen Generations. What occurred has a very real and lasting legacy today. The anguish and trauma caused by past NSW Health policies has been passed down through generations.
Nothing can give back what was taken away from these children or their families, but we can and will change the future. We are deeply sorry.
Susan Pearce Secretary, NSW Health 26 May 2022