In reconciliation week, I wish to share with the chamber a new initiative that took place over the March long weekend in Greta South in my electorate of Indi. 

Yarku Marnu – which translates to “children’s camp” was a four-night reunification retreat for First Nations siblings who have been separated by the out-of-home care system. 

Bangerang Elder Uncle Dozer Atkinson and his wife Samantha identified the need to bring siblings together after providing kinship care to a young boy unable to see his brother who was placed with another family. 

When children are isolated from their family unit they lose connection not only to their parents and siblings but to their Indigenous culture.  

The retreat brought 16 pairs of siblings and one group of three together from across Victoria, their ages ranging from 3 to 11 years old. 

The feedback, echoed by all the children, was that this was the best camp they have ever been on.  

Seventeen adults donated their time to support the camp over the long weekend – nurses, child care protection practitioners, child psychologists and First Nations Elders.  

Uncle Dozer wished to thank and applaud the team at the 15 Mile Creek Campus for donating their time, the camp facilities and all equipment – an important demonstration that acts of reconciliation can take many forms.  

Deputy Speaker, may this program continue and grow for the benefit of First Nations kids in out-of-home care. 

Sign up

Keep up to date with the latest news and information