Australian Unity’s executive general manager for Indigenous Services Ken Markwell reflects on National Apology Day.

This week, twelve years ago, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke to all Australians acknowledging Australia’s wrongdoing which resulted in the suffering of the Stolen Generations.

Ken Markwell

My wife and I kept our daughters home that day from school to watch the apology. It was a significant day, not just for our people, but all Australians.

Despite it taking decades for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to receive a formal apology from the Australian government the date holds poignant significance.

National Apology Day is commemorated on 13 February and encourages remembrance of, and apology to, Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples including the Stolen Generations whose lives have been profoundly impacted by past government policies of mistreatment, assimilation and forced child removal.

This day is also an important occasion to reflect and celebrate how far we have come to support reconciliation and what more needs to be done in the future. This is everybody’s business!

What’s important now as a nation is to work alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to respect our peoples’ cultures and empower our prosperity.

This is what gets me out of the bed in the morning and inspires my work with Australian Unity.

Providing high quality, culturally appropriate care for Elders and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living with a disability. The soul of a nation is how we treat our most vulnerable people.

Being one of the largest employers of Indigenous Australians across the aged care sector we are walking the talk when it comes to co-designing and delivering culturally appropriate services.

Supporting Indigenous enterprises that have a connection with community and promoting Indigenous socio-economic outcomes are of particular interest to our company.

This year we will be driving a ‘Stretch’ Reconciliation Action Plan, that has a strong focus on Indigenous economic empowerment.

We view our expenditure with Indigenous suppliers as a key way to directly support employment and economic development, particularly as Indigenous businesses are nine times more likely to employ an Indigenous person than a non-Indigenous business.

National Apology Day is an important moment in Australia’s history, it is a reference point from where we can concentrate and renew our efforts on progressing towards a brighter future for all Australians.

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