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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 4287 ..


MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how has community engagement informed the development of the agreement?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for his supplementary. The office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, or OATSIA, in partnership with the elected body, commenced community engagement in March this year. Since then they have held extensive conversations with the ACT's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. This has included one-on-one conversations with traditional custodians; community groups and organisations, including Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation and Winnunga Nimmityjah Health and Community Services; and open community forums as well.

Information about the agreement was also distributed to the community at reconciliation in the park and at the ACT NAIDOC family day where I understand that members of the elected body engaged with around 200 people. Individuals could also share their thoughts via a survey on the strong families and your say websites.

The elected body has advised me that its contribution to the development of the new agreement has been informed by dozens if not hundreds of individual conversations with community members as part of the elected body's ongoing engagement with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Through this work we have directly heard the diverse voices and perspectives of many individuals, community groups and stakeholders. In addition, recognising that many of the issues raised have been consulted on extensively in the past, OATSIA has also reviewed a range of reports and previous consultations, and the outcomes of that research have fed in to the development of the new agreement.

Throughout this work and these conversations we have also heard that self-determination is a critical priority for the community. Supporting the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to freely determine their political status and to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development is one of the key principles of the current agreement.

MS ORR: Minister, what else is the government doing to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to exercise self-determination in the ACT?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for her supplementary question. The right to self-determination is based on the simple fact that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are Australia's first people. Self-determination is the underlying principle of the current agreement and, based on community feedback, will be even more prominent in the new agreement. The new agreement will provide tangible actions enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to exercise self-determination and have the ability and resources to provide their own solutions.

An example of self-determination in action is Our Booris, Our Way, the review into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in contact with the child protection system. The review is overseen by a wholly Aboriginal steering committee with strong cultural intellect and capability. The review's interim report is


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