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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 6 December 2011) . . Page.. 5757 ..

In the education portfolio there are many Canberrans whom I need to meet and to whom I need to listen. Before my appointment as minister I had the opportunity to visit several schools in the Ginninderra electorate. As minister, I have visited more. Meeting students, teachers, principals and parents, presenting academic and sporting awards, attending school and college functions and meeting students of all ages are rewarding experiences. I have also met with representatives of the unions that represent public and private teachers, the leadership team of the Education and Training Directorate, senior staff of the major education institutions and representatives of non-government schools. In addition, I have meetings planned with the institutions and the representatives of the organisations with whom I have not yet met.

I am proud, as an Indigenous man, of my appointment as Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. I am a former chairperson of the ACT Indigenous Education Consultative Body and a former member of the close the gap campaign for Indigenous health equality. By the time of my appointment I knew many members of the ACT Indigenous community, and one of my first meetings was with the senior staff of the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.

As a backbencher, I visited the Alexander Maconochie Centre and I am looking forward to visiting it again as the responsible minister. I have met with senior staff from the Justice and Community Safety Directorate responsible for corrections and have arranged to meet with the Official Visitor and Indigenous Official Visitor.

As a former owner and manager of a small business and an employer for nearly 18 years, I have taken an active interest in the relevant industrial relations legislation and awards over many years. Through my involvement in the Labor Party and then as a backbencher, I have come to know many of the union leaders representing both public and private sector workers across the territory. Since my election to the Assembly I have met with leaders of the Canberra business community, and since my appointment to cabinet I have continued to talk with them as the opportunity arises. I of course have more formal meetings planned with union representatives and Canberra business organisations.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 5.28 pm.

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