VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher Delivers Compelling Evidence at Yoorrook Justice Commission’s Land Hearings.

Mar 28, 2024

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) CEO Dr. Jill Gallagher AO has delivered a raw, powerful and heartfelt submission at the Yoorrook Justice Commission’s land hearings today.

Dr. Gallagher’s deeply personal submission delved into the painful impacts her mother and siblings experienced whilst trying to survive in a society where it wasn’t safe to be Aboriginal.

The submission detailed the dispossession of land, suppression of culture, blatant racism Jill, her family, and Community suffered during a brutal and rapid colonisation.

The Yoorook Justice Commission’s hearings into injustices against Aboriginal Communites related to land, sky, and waters commenced on Gunditjmara Country on Monday. The significant location was where the invasion of the land now referred to as Victoria commenced, and where a number of early atrocities against Aboriginal Communities took place, including the Convincing Ground massacre.

Dr. Gallagher paid tribute to the Yoorrook Justice Commission for their unrelenting dedication and commitment to uncovering the truth about the dark history of this nation.

“The land hearings are particularly significant because the many health and wellbeing disparities Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people suffer today started with the brazen and blatant theft of the resources and lands they had meticulously cared for over thousands of years.”

“Our culture, languages, health, ways of knowing, being and doing were ripped out from under us.”

“My Mum and many, many others have had to live with the pain of having their children taken from them, the hopelessness of being unable to put down their roots, the horror of being subjected to vile racism on a daily basis.”

“The submission I’ve delivered today isn’t about finger-pointing or passing on blame or guilt for the atrocities of the past, it’s about making sure as a society this State really listens and learns so we never see history repeat itself.”

“I’d like to pay tribute to the Yoorrook Justice Commission for being bold and brave in their quest to uncover the truth. This important truth telling is vital to helping Communities on the path to healing.”

Photo: VACCHO CEO Dr. Jill Gallagher AO stands with the Yoorrook Justice Commission Commissioners
L – R : Adjuct Professor Sue-Anne Hunter (MSW), The Hon. Anthony North KC, Dr. Jill Gallagher AO, Chair Professor Eleanor Bourke AM, Travis Lovett, Distinguished Professor Maggie Walter (PhD; FASSA). 

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VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 33 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.