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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 4 Hansard (26 March) . .

Page.. 1229..


MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, why has the ACT government repeatedly failed to get a seven-day roster in ACTION's EBA?

MR RATTENBURY: As the experts across the other side of the chamber would undoubtedly know, these processes are processes of negotiation, and that matter has been negotiated out in the way that members are aware of.

Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—agreement

DR BOURKE: My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. Minister, could you please explain the significance of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement which has been recently finalised.

MS BERRY: I thank Dr Bourke for his question. On Tuesday I had the opportunity to announce, together with the Chief Minister and the Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, Mr Rod Little, the finalisation of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement for 2015-18.

Completion of this agreement marks a significant milestone in the way we work in partnership with representatives of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. It was more than 18 months ago that a meeting between the cabinet and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body agreed that together we would develop this agreement. As a thorough consultation process has occurred and the agreement has come together, it was underpinned by the strong advocacy and hard work of both the government and the elected body. I take the chance to acknowledge the elected body chair, Mr Rod Little, the former minister, Mr Rattenbury, and the office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for their contributions to reaching this milestone.

This whole-of-government agreement takes the government's relationship with the elected body an important step forward. While the elected body is already enshrined in legislation, the agreement sets out clearly agreed principles, focus areas and actions for our work over the next three years. It also renews the ACT government's commitment to reconciliation: to key principles around the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; to acknowledge the importance of cultural identity and cultural rights; and to work in practical ways to foster strong families, cultural identity, self-determination and further progress on key social and economic indicators.

The government has a deep commitment to the principles of equality and inclusion across our community. This agreement represents an important step towards those goals. It will support effective communication and partnership across government. It will also work to complement and showcase existing government initiatives which have shown their effectiveness under the close the gap strategy and in other key areas. With the government and the elected body having reached agreement, we will now prepare the final document for formal signing and tabling in the Assembly.


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