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Child migrant travel fund must continue to operate.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Andrew Murray Democrats Senator for Western Australia

Dated: 11 October 2005 Press Release Number: sdwrhepr Portfolio: Family & Community Services

Child Migrant Travel Fund Must Continue to Operate

Senator Andrew Murray today in Melbourne launched the Journal of Discovery: A Report on the Australian Former Child Migrant Travel Fund. The Australian Travel Fund was established in response to a recommendation of Lost Innocents: Righting the Record, the unanimous 2001 Senate Community Affairs References Committee report on the child migration schemes to Australia last century. "Lost Innocents clearly reveals the tragic effects of growing up without the love and security that family life can bring. The loss of identity and family connections is one of the most distressing outcomes from a childhood lived in institutional care", Senator Murray said.

"This fund has been responsible for making dreams come true for many former child migrants in their search for identity and family reunification. It has enabled them to travel back to their countries of origin to connect with long-lost and newly discovered family and relatives. "It is marvellous that a measure of healing has been achieved for these people. However, it is sad that it has come to an end and that there are still those waiting for family members to be traced for reunification purposes", Senator Murray continued. "It is also sad that those who have had the opportunity of family and identity are unable to afford further visits to maintain this new found and important sense of connection. "I welcome and applaud the Journal of Discovery's recommendation that the Australian Government provide further funding to facilitate travel to the UK or Malta so that those yet to undertake visits are able to do so. "I also welcome the suggestion that the Government finally agree to finance at a reduced level two further visits for those wishing to develop relationships now formed. Recommendation 20 of Lost Innocents recommended this, but it was not taken up. "The quest to 'right the record' must continue," Senator Murray concluded.

Printed: 20 October 2005

Authorised by: J. Wood, 711 South Road, Black Forest, SA 5035.