Page 460 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 22 March 2022

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific standalone suicide prevention, post-prevention and after care service in the ACT; the development of a new purpose-built facility for Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation; and work in the child and youth protection system to support the establishment and expansion of Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and, more broadly, to implement the recommendations of the Our Booris, Our Way review.

This is part of the work across government which will further be supported by the $20 million healing and reconciliation fund. The fund represents a new way of partnering with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to advance the priorities under the agreements and other identified community priorities. Initial projects identified have included the establishment of a Ngunnawal language centre, expanding the Aboriginal community-controlled sector, restoring Boomanulla Oval and Yarramundi Cultural Centre to community control and supporting a treaty process.

In addition to treaty being a priority for the healing and reconciliation fund, the 2020-21 budget included funding for an independent facilitator to undertake consultation with the community. Due to the impacts of COVID-19 this work has experienced some delays. However, after consultation with the United Ngunnawal Elders Council, Professor Kerry Arabena has now been contracted to consult with the community about the next steps for a treaty process.

On Close the Gap Day last week the Chief Minister and I were privileged to attend a special meeting of the United Ngunnawal Elders Council with Professor Arabena, which marked the commencement of these discussions. It was an honour to sit together with the Ngunnawal traditional owners, the Chief Minister and Professor Arabena in the Mabo Room at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies to witness the start of this community conversation.

I was particularly pleased to hear Professor Arabena’s title for this work: Healing Project. We know that the toll of intergenerational trauma weighs heavy on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and I hold great confidence that Professor Arabena’s focus on healing and bringing families together will ensure that this is a process that recognises the burden of trauma and seeks to ease that burden through healing.

Treaties are agreements between governments and traditional owners and can include measures that reflect rights and reparation owed because of the ongoing social, economic and cultural impacts of colonisation. This process will take time and we are still in its early stages. Our government is committed to walking with and being led by traditional owners every step of the way. I look forward to hearing the outcomes of Professor Arabena’s work with the community in the coming months and to seeing the community take the next step towards an important act of self-determination and reconciliation.

Environment—National Landcare Awards 2021

MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for

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