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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 156..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

government is committed to working towards that. We will move to address the consequences of our shared history.

I present the following paper:

Indigenous affairs-Ministerial Statement, 12 December 2001.

I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (3.38): I indicate at the outset my broad support and that of the Liberal Party for the direction suggested in the statement that the minister has made. He suggests areas of current relative disadvantage faced by the indigenous community of the ACT. He mentions areas such as health, family violence, education, housing and the resolution of native title claims. In all those areas, I would agree and the Liberal Party would agree that there is a need for action to be pursued.

I might say that the agreement that we offer to the agenda put forward is somewhat easier to give on the basis that a large number of the things that are mentioned in this statement are matters which are already in train as a result of the actions of the former Liberal government. I note, for example, that there is reference to undertaking a comprehensive demographic profile of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the ACT, a very worthwhile project, one funded in the budget brought down for this financial year by the former government.

The development by ACT Corrective Services of a database to use court statistics to measure recidivism and the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs is also, I believe, under a program funded by the former government. Mental health programs came from the former government. The programs for outreach workers employed at Winnunga Nimmityjah and Gugan Gulwan, again, are programs that were funded under the previous Liberal government.

Mr Speaker, that means, obviously, that we have great sympathy for the programs being undertaken here. While it would have been nice to have more acknowledgment of the involvement of the former government in developing these programs, nonetheless I indicate that, obviously, we support the continuation of the things that we put in train. I do hope, though, that there will be some more flesh put on these bones in due course.

There is much in this statement which is supported, if only because of its generality. Mr Stanhope says that his government will offer ongoing support to maximise the success of the Reconciliation Council for the Australian Capital Region. He has asked that progress be made in ensuring proper acknowledgment of the traditional Aboriginal people. He said that he will embark on consultation mechanisms to enable a wider canvassing of the views of the community and that the government is committed to better engagement with all parts of the community. That is agreed with and supported. We agree with the support for the Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee in developing its Aboriginal justice strategic plan, et cetera.


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