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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 9 Hansard (20 August) . . Page.. 3117 ..


Tuesday, 20 August 2019

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Ms Tracey Whetnall

Motion of condolence

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tertiary Education, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (10.01): I move:

That this Assembly expresses condolences on the passing of Ms Tracey Whetnall, a proud Dharawal woman, mother, grandmother and ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Official Visitor, and tenders its profound sympathy to her family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

I rise today on behalf of the government to express condolences on the passing of Ms Tracey Whetnall. Ms Whetnall passed away on 11 July, having just turned 56, following a long, hard-fought battle with cancer. Today we mourn her passing and acknowledge her legacy of supporting Canberrans, particularly children and young people, and her people, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of Canberra.

Ms Whetnall was a Dharawal woman from Sydney who moved to Canberra with her family in 1988. In the ensuing 30 years she established a deep and lasting connection with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community—although it must be noted that, despite making the ACT her home, she never lost her passion for her beloved South Sydney Rabbitohs.

For 14 years she worked with the commonwealth Public Service Board equal opportunity unit as an Aboriginal adviser; with the Department of Employment, Education and Training, in the Aboriginal employment strategies branch; and in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission as a commission liaison officer.

In January 2011 Ms Whetnall was appointed by the government as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Official Visitor for Corrections, and in September 2013 her appointment was extended to include children and young people. The role of an official visitor is an important one for ensuring that we have a culturally appropriate monitoring and complaints system for people who are being held in government institutions or who are staying in a community facility and are dependent on the service provider or accommodation manager supporting them.

As an Official Visitor for Children and Young People, Ms Whetnall visited Bimberi Youth Justice Centre, the Narrabundah House Indigenous Supported Residential Facility, and approved residential places of care. Over the past six years she made


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