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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 7 Hansard (3 June) . .

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Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—youth

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (6.38): During this National Reconciliation Week, I represented the education minister at an event to welcome the 2015 Canberra Institute of Technology Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student ambassadors.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student ambassador network is part of CIT's commitment to reconciliation. It was established last year to enhance CIT's achievements towards its reconciliation action plan. It encourages the ambassadors to be leaders on their campus and to be a voice across our community on reconciliation.

The ambassadors network consists of three students selected from within CIT. I congratulate this year's ambassadors, Dearne Brown, Daen Lomas and Julie Oakley. The ambassadors will each be supported by a mentor, a CIT staff member who has volunteered their skills to assist the ambassadors to develop in areas such as public speaking, events and running meetings. This year eight staff members have volunteered to continue as members' mentors, as well as the 2014 student ambassador, Felicity Corbin. Training is provided to support the ambassadors to achieve their goals, and further training is offered at CIT Solutions to enhance their leadership skills.

The aims of the program are to develop a framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student ambassadors to meet, to support participation in reconciliation events, and to provide feedback on issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students; to recruit a network of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student ambassadors that can discuss issues and share ideas; to provide development opportunities for the ambassadors; to support them to be role models to other students; and to document their stories so they can be used to inform CIT and the community on future initiatives to enhance outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The dedicated support of CIT Yurauna Centre, a lighthouse for education and training in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, has helped thousands of Indigenous students to achieve something better through education and training.

We are seeing in Australia a lot of support and goodwill from Indigenous and non-Indigenous people for great reconciliation initiatives—support that shows there is a strong desire in the community to understand, to put right the wrongs of the past and to take positive action towards the national vision for a shared future.

When I was Minister for Education and Training and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, I had the privilege of launching CIT's first reconciliation plan in 2012. It is fantastic to see how far that plan has progressed. Reconciliation is a recurring theme, perhaps a motif for my political career—elected as I was four years ago during Reconciliation Week.

At last week's event, I was also able to observe that in 2002, when I was chair of the ACT's Indigenous Education Consultative Body, I helped launch the CIT's reconciliation statement, the first for an ACT government agency. This followed on from CIT's launch of a sorry book in 1998.

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