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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 28 November 2018) . . Page.. 4963 ..

8 December to meet with the community to discuss the new agreement before it is finalised in the new year.

The theme for next year is “Voice, treaty and truth”. We have a voice and, as I have said before in this place, the ACT government is open to considering a treaty for the ACT. I have discussed this possibility with the United Ngunnawal Elders Council, and the ACT government has been observing treaty-making processes for some time in Victoria and the Northern Territory, and in South Australia prior to the change of government.

The final part of the theme is “truth”. Reconciliation Day, the first celebrated in this jurisdiction this year, and the community events that support it are an important opportunity for truth telling. Reconciliation Day is a way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT to tell the true history of their people and this land. It is also an opportunity for non-Indigenous Canberrans to ask questions and learn more about the Indigenous history of our region and our nation.

I am sure that NAIDOC Week 2019 will be an opportunity for conversations on voice, treaty and truth, to continue at both a local and national level.

MS ORR: Minister, what else is the ACT government doing to support and celebrate the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our community?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for her supplementary question. I was pleased recently to open the latest round of ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural, leadership and scholarship grant programs. A total of $215,000 is available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT to undertake study or leadership training and to celebrate and share their cultures.

This year a number of changes were made to the grant programs to make them more accessible and to better meet the needs of the community. The changes are a result of feedback from past grant recipients and community discussions and will mean that the grants are open all year until grant funds are allocated to the end of the financial year. An assessment panel will convene monthly to assess applications for scholarship and leadership grants and grant recipients can apply for grants in successive years. This responds to feedback that scholarship grants should be open all year so that people can plan for their future study with confidence.

Scholarship grant rounds have previously assisted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans in studying courses from certificate IV up to masters degrees as well as in attending conferences and study tours and providing cultural education to the wider community. Changes to the cultural grants mean that they will now be available for some months before culturally significant events such as NAIDOC Week, Sorry Day and Mabo Day. This means that community groups will also be able to plan better for events and other activities.

I encourage members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to check out the refreshed grant programs via the strong families website. The ACT government knows that creating environments where Aboriginal and Torres

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