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13 February 2024: National Apology Day

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13 February 2024

February 13 carries profound weight for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Today marks the 16th anniversary of one of Australia’s most historic days - the 2008 National Apology to Indigenous Australians. On this day in 2008, then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd righted an egregious wrong by formally apologising to the Stolen Generations and all Indigenous Australians impacted by discriminatory policies and acts of the past.



Children watch outside Parliament as Kevin Rudd delivers the Apology in 2008 (Credit: Getty)


While words alone could not and can not erase centuries of injustice, the Apology represented a long-overdue recognition of profound grief and elevated the journey of healing which began generations before. Indigenous Australians were seen and heard that day by Australian institutions of power in a manner they had never experienced before.

As last week's Productivity Commission report on progress under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap shows, there remains significant work ahead to resolve the disparities in health access and outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. As the peak body representing Aboriginal community controlled health services and substance misuse services in South Australia, AHCSA is committed to that endeavour, guided by the resilience of Elders and by the vision of reconciliation that the Apology represents.

In South Australia we are one month away from the inaugural First Nations Voice election to create a direct and independent line of communication for First Nations people to South Australia's Parliament. Let February 13 be a day for Australians here and elsewhere to reflect on healing wounds of the past and committing to the full inclusion and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across all levels of society. 


Patrick Moriarty, Acting CEO