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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 April 2018) . . Page.. 1195 ..


One of the reasons the Greens included in the parliamentary agreement the idea of ensuring that cultural connections are considered in planning and heritage assessments was to change our current system of heritage protection. Our system at the moment is really more of a collection of artefacts, to give you a glimpse of how life might have been, but they are not really enough to ensure that culture can be passed on to coming generations.

We are keen to shift the basis of heritage assessment to ensure that a landscape, or songline, perspective can be examined, to look deeper at how that area of land relates to other areas, and to determine ways to value, protect and promote Indigenous understandings of connection to land. This broader landscape perspective will enable local custodians to retain deeper connections to their land and their uses of the various areas: sacred sites, burial sites, initiation sites and others.

At the moment, the process of protecting only tiny pieces of land at a time is a slow degradation of country and story. We need to get a better understanding of the land and recognise and respect local dreaming stories to ensure we protect sacred sites. In this way, the grandchildren of today will become the grandparents of tomorrow and ensure that their cultural connections to land and landscape will continue, and all of us will benefit, non-Indigenous and Indigenous alike.

This is one way we can affirm Aboriginal law and custom and acknowledge their sovereignty that was present before 1788. We are concerned about the loss of Aboriginal languages across the country. Perhaps heritage needs to include language and stories as well. When these are lost it is very hard to relearn them and to teach them to the next generation.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (4.11): I thank Ms Lawder for bringing this matter of public importance to the Assembly today. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to talk about the importance of celebrating in this place our Aboriginal, non-Indigenous and natural heritage and built heritage in the ACT.

It was a great pleasure to represent the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister Gentleman, at the launch of the 2018 Canberra and Region Heritage Festival at Mugga-Mugga cottage last week. The launch took place on another spectacular autumn morning in Canberra. Wally Bell welcomed us to country and shared the story of his family’s ongoing connection to the Canberra region. Jonathan Efkarpidis, from the Molonglo Group, the son and nephew of Greek migrants, talked about the importance of creating spaces that will be valued now and decades into the future.

I also want to acknowledge the presence at the launch of Canberrans from a range of cultural backgrounds, including Antonia Kaucz, Chair of the ACT Multicultural Advisory Council. As others have noted, the theme of this year’s heritage festival is “My culture, my story”. Last year’s theme, “Questions and change”, coincided with the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, and prompted many conversations about


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