Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 27 February 2014) . . Page.. 264 ..
The Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs will be responsible for developing the agreement. The office, in collaboration with the elected body, will undertake an intensive consultation process with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members, directorates and relevant service providers, to identify the key focus areas for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the agreement. The consultation process for the agreement will include online surveying, targeted roundtables and community forums.
In keeping with the COAG closing the gap targets, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement will articulate how the ACT government will work towards equitable outcomes for members of local ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through improving the capacity of service delivery by ACT government agencies.
In line with the ACT social compact, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement shares the long-term vision of an inclusive community that enables all people to participate and lead purposeful lives—a community where all people will have opportunities to achieve economic security, social relationships, quality of life and a healthy environment.
The agreement will also be developed in line with the human services blueprint project, and reaffirm the ACT government’s commitment to ensuring that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans are able to access the right services at the right time.
The agreement will set out the ACT government’s commitment to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans to improve how we deliver health, housing, economic and social services. It will provide a framework for relations between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the ACT government by articulating the principles of good communication and partnership.
The elected body have asked the government to consider how the recognition of the distinctive rights that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples hold as the original peoples of this land will be captured in this agreement. These considerations will include: the right to a distinct status and culture, which helps maintain and strengthen the identity and spiritual and cultural practices of Indigenous communities; and the right to self-determination, which is a process where Indigenous communities take control of their future and decide how they will address the issues facing them.
I would like to acknowledge the considerable work to date that the ACT government has undertaken in this regard, with projects such as the Aboriginal justice agreement and many others. The justice agreement represents the strong commitment of this government to collaboration and community engagement, and provides ongoing guidance to a range of agencies.
These works are the foundation stones of the agreement and will continue to support and enhance our combined policy goals for the years to come. The whole-of-government agreement will build on these successes, and provide a more focused and tangible approach for the government and community to use in future negotiations.