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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 245..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

There are four key initiatives I would like to draw to the attention of members. The first is the Indigenous Education Consultative Body. The IECB is a very important advisory body to government. As former members' terms expired in October 2001, I would like to take the opportunity to thank the members of the outgoing body for the sound advice they have provided to government over the past four years.

Arrangements for appointments to the IECB, including advertisements calling for expressions of interest from the indigenous community to be members, have almost been completed. I have planned for the new body to be in place by the end of December 2001, with the continuing brief to provide advice to government on education, training and community services. I look forward to meeting with members of the IECB when it is reconstituted, hopefully early in the new year.

The second initiative I would like to draw to the attention of members is the indigenous education compact. The development of an indigenous education compact was the important initiative to emerge from the indigenous education forums organised by the department and the Indigenous Education Consultative Body in August last year. The joint working group established from the forums has undertaken a broad consultative process within the department and the local indigenous and Wreck Bay communities.

The final community consultation will take the form of a mail-out of the draft compact to all indigenous families with children enrolled in our government schools. This will give them a final opportunity to comment before the indigenous education compact is signed off by the department and the Indigenous Education Consultative Body. The compact will become the guiding document for the Department of Education and Community Services strategic plan for services to indigenous people.

Our third initiative is the departmental strategic plan for services to indigenous people. The department has implemented a consultative process to develop a strategic plan for services to indigenous people. The draft plan will be distributed for consultation in March 2001 and is being finalised before the end of this year. The strategic plan is proposed for tabling in 2002.

The fourth initiative is acknowledging country, an initiative that I acknowledge you yourself, Mr Speaker, brought to the Assembly. In a cultural awareness and reconciliation initiative, the chief executive of the Department of Education and Community Services has asked that an acknowledgment of country be adopted as a first protocol at all appropriate meetings of departmental officers and community meetings led by Department of Education and Community Services officers. This is to include school assemblies. The department is the first government department in Australia to adopt this as a protocol, and I welcome it as an important symbolic, and also real, step in addressing issues around reconciliation.

Finally, I would like to say that this is a very important report. It establishes a basis for monitoring and implementing improvements in performance in indigenous education so that we can now move to achieve necessary outcomes.

The draft strategic plan that I referred to earlier has four key commitments for the department in the provision of services to improve outcomes for indigenous children and young people and their families. It does this by eliminating racism; forming real and


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