Page 1464 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 June 2022
families, including safe places to stay; alcohol and drug support; mental health programs; family support; and multidisciplinary therapeutic complex case support. At every step of the way as we continue this journey towards reconciliation, we must continue to listen to and understand what our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are telling us about where and how we can do better. Sometimes it is hard to hear that, despite good intentions, things are not working; but I am determined that we will keep listening and keep working to improve what we do so that we can be an inclusive, strong, supportive community together.
MS VASSAROTTI (Kurrajong—Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for Homelessness and Housing Services and Minister for Sustainable Building and Construction) (11.33): I rise to support the comments made in this chamber this morning and to reflect on the importance of Reconciliation Week and Reconciliation Day. I would also like to extend my thanks to our former colleague Chris Bourke, the previous Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, for the initiative of us having a day to reflect, learn and celebrate how much richer our journey is together as we live on this beautiful Ngunnawal land. With us now into the fifth year of this initiative, I am personally so thankful for the opportunity to take the time to engage with the history that I am still learning so much about and reflect on how I can make the concept of reconciliation an action in my personal life and professional life.
A key element of reconciliation is dealing with the issue that this is stolen land. This was, is and always will be Aboriginal land. This provides us with an opportunity to see how we can do better in reflecting on some of these issues. I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the important work that is occurring within the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate to embed First Nations knowledge into practice in the ACT, particularly around how we care for Country and the environment.
I note that this work is shared across a number of ministerial portfolios. I recognise the shared commitment of my ministerial colleagues, particularly Minister Gentleman, with responsibilities around land management and parks and conservation, and Minister Rattenbury around water management. I would like to particularly recognise the work and significant contribution made by the Dhawura Ngunnawal Caring for Country Committee that is working with us to improve our understanding and incorporate First Nations knowledge in how we plan for and care for our Country.
A recent and highly successful example of how this can enrich us all is one of our newest reserves, the Namarag reserve, situated in Molonglo. Named after the Ngunnawal word for “wattle”, this project is a living demonstration of what can occur when there is deep and genuine engagement, and a commitment to co-design and to listening to First Nations knowledge holders. It is a taste of what we can achieve. I have been lucky to be received on Country in this beautiful place. I have learned about how the artwork reflects local First Nations stories and history and I have learned to dance. Many other Canberrans at this year’s Heritage Festival have had the chance to visit, listen and learn too.