The Anglican Church of Australia is not withholding records of Stolen Generations children cared for by Church institutions, General Secretary of the General Synod, the Reverend Dr Bruce Kaye said today.
Dr Kaye was responding to media reports today quoting a recent National Council of Churches in Australia report, "Continuing the Journey", which said, in part, that the Anglican Church had not released records "due to concerns about both confidentiality and liability".
Dr Kaye said the "Continuing the Journey" report did not refer to access to records but rather the transfer of records to "Indigenous Centres".
"The Anglican Church is committed to assisting those who identify with the Stolen Generations," Dr Kaye said.
"Our larger collections of records are publicly available, either through state libraries or diocesan archives.
The "Continuing the Journey" report said that the Anglican Church, including its national welfare network Anglicare Australia, was working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in terms of education, support, advocacy, responding to disadvantage and demonstrating reconciliation.
"Anglicare agencies have been working on identifying records and have co-operated with those state governments (West Australia and Queensland) which have initiated procedures for records to be held and accessed centrally," the report said.
Dr Kaye said the Anglican Church's commitment to reconciliation at a national level was expressed in a motion passed by the General Synod, being held in Brisbane this week:
Stolen Generations Resolution
This Synod notes that the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican Council celebrates the positive response to Indigenous people by the wider community in many events since the General Synod in 1998 and:
§ Re-affirms Resolution 27 of 1998 which included an apology from the Anglican Church of Australia to the Stolen Generations and a commitment to implement the "Bringing Them Home Report" recommendations.
§ Shares the profound disappointment expressed by NATSIAC at the continuing denial of the Stolen Generations by the Federal Government and its failure to apologise or to implement fully the recommendations of the "Bringing Them Home Report".
§ Asserts that appropriate response to the Stolen Generations is a national responsibility and the Federal Government must accept and take the lead.
§ Calls upon the Federal Government to establish and appropriately resource alternative dispute resolution processes of mediation and negotiation and supports the formation of a national process to fulfil this responsibility.
§ Calls on the Federal Government to secure access to records to facilitate re-connection as recommended in the "Bringing Them Home" report.
§ Requests all dioceses and parishes to pray and work for the healing of the nation and in order to facilitate re-connections to collaborate with the Federal Government and Indigenous people to make all archives and other records accessible.
§ Commits the Anglican Church of Australia to support the establishment by the Council of Australian Governments, of a national fund as recommended by the "Bringing Them Home" report as part of the healing process and urges all Australians to contribute to it.