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The third anniversary of the Australian government’s Apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is rapidly approaching (13th February). What of substance has occurred since then? A bi-partisan response to the audit presented to federal parliament this week, Closing the Gap, revealed some challenges, unfulfilled intentions and a degree of frustration on all sides. What is encouraging, however, is the political will to keep engaging. Such is the nature of this long journey.

Reconciliation Australia describes a cooperative entity called The Healing Foundation that was established one year after the Apology. It describes initiatives taken within indigenous communities that work towards the healing process. Crucial elements include the community basis of control, recognition of and patience with complexity, and the diversity of healing approaches required. There is a wisdom here that I hope the parliamentary and wider Australian community are beginning to hear and receive.

Healing (making whole) is a total community project.