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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 February 2018) . . Page.. 28 ..

the gap targets are on track. We can all recognise that it is positive to see these targets on track. However, at the same time we must recognise that governments across the country must continue working to achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with the aim of definitively closing the widening gap.

As a white, non-Indigenous Australian, I cannot say I understand the pain and suffering felt by those of the stolen generations and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may be affected by the intergenerational trauma. However, I do know that Indigenous Australians have a deep connection to their culture and family and their right to this connection must not be denied.

I believe it is important that on this day, especially as an elected representative, I formally place on the record my deepest condolences to those affected and who continue to be affected by the separation of children from their families and offer my commitment to advance the cause of reconciliation and recognition for our first nations peoples.

As Minister Stephen-Smith has highlighted, the ACT government is working hard to deliver better outcomes for all Indigenous people in our community. On 28 May this year we will observe our first Reconciliation Day public holiday, the first of its kind in Australia. The Reconciliation Day public holiday will provide Canberrans the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to reconciliation and to celebrate the everlasting culture of our fellow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans.

The minister and this government are currently developing a new ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement for the period 2018-2023, alongside a continued commitment to work closely with the United Ngunnawal Elders Council and the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body. I am proud of the work the ACT government is undertaking to deliver a real change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the ACT.

Each year, on the anniversary of the apology, we reflect on the disgraceful acts committed towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and we look forward to a better and fairer future for our Indigenous Australians.

On this 10th year anniversary I look forward to our first nations people being recognised in our constitution, being empowered with a voice in our federal parliament and being better off with the achievement of all seven Closing the gap targets. I believe that in 10 years time we will all be able to reflect and see these measure achieved so long as governments work with Indigenous Australians and the wider community to prioritise recognition and reconciliation.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (11.23): As has been noted, today marks the 10th anniversary of the national apology to the stolen generations and Indigenous peoples of Australia. I thank Minister Stephen-Smith for her statement on the anniversary and I join her in paying my respects to elders past, present and emerging, as well as the broader Aboriginal community. I also join her in acknowledging that today is Steven Freeman’s date of birth, and I acknowledge Steven’s family and friends at this difficult time.

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