Page 707 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 5 April 2022
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement 2019-2028—annual impact statement
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (10.31): I rise today to table and speak to the first ACT joint annual impact statement for the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement 2019-2028—the ACT agreement—and the National Agreement on Closing the Gap 2020.
I am pleased to table the first ACT annual impact statement, which provides an indication of the territory’s progress in relation to both closing the gap targets and priority areas under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement 2019-2028 with the elected body.
This follows the finalisation of the agreement outcomes framework in 2021, which was developed in partnership with the elected body, and the government’s commitment to provide an annual statement of performance. This impact statement also forms a critical component of this jurisdiction’s reporting requirements under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and the ACT implementation plan.
The impact statement is a point-in-time snapshot, which will be complemented by an online dashboard providing more extensive information and an ability to be updated to include new data. We expect that the dashboard will go live in the next week or two. Much of the data reported is already available in publications by the Productivity Commission, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, to name a few. However, this is the first time that the ACT data has been brought together to provide us with a picture of performance under the 10 focus areas of the ACT agreement.
I want to acknowledge the ACT government’s agreement partners, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, as well as the ACT public service and many consultative groups and community partners who have worked together to deliver outcomes under the agreement.
We know that the ACT government has important responsibilities, but we cannot close the gap alone. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic impacting a range of initiatives across the ACT and progress under national agreements during the 2021 reporting period, the impact statement identifies some important progress within ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Some of the highlights reflected in the data include: continued high preschool enrolment for children in the year prior to full-time schooling; steady growth in enrolment of three-year-olds in preschool programs; signs of improved readiness for school reflected in the ACT kindy health check; some small but very encouraging reductions in the number of children and young people entering and also returning to out of home care; a reduction in the rate of people returning to incarceration; more students achieving year 12 certificates; and an increase in both the number of businesses and the budget being contracted by ACT government directorates.