The future of Peat Island
Our voice is needed!
Peat Island is an important place for many people. Aboriginal communities, people with disability and their families and local communities.
We asked the NSW Government to stop its plan to develop Peat Island.
On 23 May 2022 the Government announced it has withdrawn its planning proposal.
We asked the Government to consult with people with disability before making plans. We are still asking for this to happen.
On 31 January 2022 the Government announced they are planning to transfer ownership of the Island to the Darkinjung Aboriginal Land Council. CID is very pleased Peat Island is returning to traditional owners.
We would still like to see its history as a disability institution acknowledged and in February the Darkinjung Aboriginal Land Council invited us to meet with them at Peat Island. We have started a conversation together about the shared history of the land. We will keep talking together about how to remember the stories of what happened on Peat Island and honour the lives of the people with disability who lived there.
You can find out more about why Peat Island is important below.
Institutions in NSW
For over 100 years the NSW State Government operated institutions that segregated and incarcerated people with disability. In these places people with disability were exposed to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
There has never been a government apology or offer of compensation for this incarceration and abuse and people with disability continue to live with that history.
CID believes it is time for the NSW Government to
- acknowledge damaging policies of the past
- talk to people with disability about how to remember institutions and honour the lives of the people with disability who lived there
- include people with disability in planning about former disability institutions, including in decisions about transfer or sale of land
- make sure the history and experiences of people are shared with the NSW community
- think about whether we are currently repeating mistakes of the past in the way we support people with disability.
About Peat Island
Peat Island is an eight hectare island on the Hawkesbury River on the Central Coast in NSW.
From 1911 to 2010 the NSW State Government operated a disability institution on Peat Island that segregated and incarcerated people with disability and caused people with disability to be exposed to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
There has never been a government apology or offer of compensation for this incarceration and abuse and people with disability continue to live with that history. At the same time, people who lived on Peat Island demonstrated resilience and survival, built communities within their circumstances, and formed lasting friendships. For the people with disability who lived at Peat Island (sometimes for almost the entirety of their lives) this site was their ‘home’.
Our Submission and Open Letter
What the media is saying