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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 4 Hansard (30 March) . .

Page.. 1318..


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with particular emphasis on the stolen generation.

One of the key recommendations from the review was that the functions of the elected body should be clarified to: improve community and stakeholder understanding of the role of the elected body; allow for more effective community and stakeholder consultation; and formally enshrine the elected body hearing process within the legislation.

Madam Speaker, the amendment bill removes the deficit language in the objects of the act to a strengths-based approach. This is consistent with the language in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the shared vision expressed in the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement.

The amendment bill strengthens the functions of the elected body to consult and provide advice on systemic or whole-of-government issues. It clarifies the delineation of responsibility between the elected body and the ACT government in the management of operational aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy and service provision.

The bill will also enshrine the elected body's ability to hold public hearings to evaluate government service provision. In addition, it requires the elected body to report to the minister following the hearings and includes a requirement for the minister to table this report in the Legislative Assembly and respond to the report. The bill also harmonises the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Act 2008 with the Heritage Act 2004 in relation to how it consults on cultural heritage.

This bill removes the prescriptive way in which the elected body is currently required to consult on the broad range of issues of interest and relevance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans. Each incoming elected body will be required to develop a consultation plan aimed at maximising the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the ACT.

This year we will be holding the fourth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body election, and this bill both clarifies and strengthens the role of the incoming elected body as a representative voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans.

As was the case in the previous election, a caretaker period and convention will be in place for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body. The caretaker period will commence on 15 May 2017, 47 days prior to the commencement of polling, which is scheduled to begin on 1 July.

This bill will provide greater clarity for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body and will enable it to be even more effective in exercising its duties. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Milligan) adjourned to the next sitting.


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