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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 12 April 2018) . . Page.. 1386 ..


The ACT government is also working closely with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body to ensure that community engagement is far reaching and planned activities are culturally safe. Most importantly, Reconciliation Day will keep reconciliation in the public conversation and celebrate the ongoing contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history and connection to country.

MS ORR: Can the minister update the Assembly about the role and membership of the Reconciliation Day Council in the lead-up to Australia’s first Reconciliation Day celebrations next month?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for her supplementary question. I announced the membership of the ACT Reconciliation Day Council on 18 March 2018. This volunteer council will oversee preparations for Reconciliation Day, act as community ambassadors and lead community conversations about the importance of reconciliation. This includes supporting the ACT government to develop a program of activities taking place in the lead-up to and on Reconciliation Day; providing high-level strategic direction to the event coordinator; promoting the events; and providing leadership in the community about reconciliation.

The establishment of the council reflects the outcomes of community consultation undertaken in 2016 that highlighted the need for, and I quote, “a council and budget to ensure that the public holiday was not simply a day off but an inclusive celebration and showcase of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture”.

I am very pleased that the ACT Reconciliation Day Council is co-chaired by Dr Chris Bourke and Ms Genevieve Jacobs. Dr Bourke was, of course, instrumental in pushing for the creation of Reconciliation Day. The council comprises prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans and non-Indigenous Canberrans, including Mr Alan Tongue, Professor Tom Calma AO, Ms Selena Walker, Ms Katrina Fanning, Mr Matt Davies, Ms Samantha Faulkner, Ms Diane Kargas-Bray and Mr Alex White.

These individuals were selected as representative of the broader Canberra community and, due to their prominence in the community, they are also able to act as ambassadors for Reconciliation Day. To date, the council has met twice and will regularly meet in the lead-up to Reconciliation Day. Further, the council will be actively involved in the evaluation of events and activities following Reconciliation Day.

MR PETTERSSON: Could the minister explain the role of ambassadors in promoting Reconciliation Day?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: It is always good to have the last question, and I thank Mr Pettersson for the last supplementary. The ACT Reconciliation Day public holiday will advance the aims of reconciliation by providing opportunities for the whole ACT community to: acknowledge the history of settlement of Australia and its ongoing impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the community; celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people, culture and heritage and the contribution first nations people continue to make to the nation; and allow the


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