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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Friday, 23 April 2021) . . Page.. 1172 ..


different upgrades have been occurring in that area. Ultimately it is up to the private owners of the shops to make sure that they upgrade their shops, that they let out their shops and that they make sure that they are available for the public.

Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—Closing the Gap

MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. Minister, how is the government ensuring that we make progress against our commitments in the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement 2019-2028 and the National Agreement on Closing the Gap?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for the question. It is an important one. The ACT, of course, leads the nation in having an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, a dedicated voice to government from the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. The ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement sets out the shared commitment between the government and the Elected Body to drive sustained quality of life outcomes for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The ACT was also one of the first jurisdictions to sign on to the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. The national agreement was made between state, territory and commonwealth governments, in partnership with the coalition of peak Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, and it is governed through the Joint Council on Closing the Gap. The National Agreement on Closing the Gap mirrors many of the commitments we have already made through our ACT agreement. Both agreements are underpinned by a commitment to self-determination, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as partners in our work to close the gap and improve outcomes across society. Both agreements also require work across all areas of government.

While it is relatively early in the life of both agreements, they are already guiding reform. This includes through broad systemic and cultural change within directorates to work towards the elimination of systemic racism and to increase the accessibility of government services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It also includes specific programs to address specific challenges, such as the Functional Family Therapy—Child Welfare program, delivered by Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation, in partnership with OzChild, and our justice reinvestment initiatives, with Winnunga Nimmityjah and the Aboriginal Legal Service, to name just two of the important areas of reform.

There is still much progress to be made to meet our commitments. We know that the most effective solutions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are developed and delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. That is why Labor committed, in the lead-up to the 2020 election, to a 10-year, $20 million healing and reconciliation fund. We have already started to get this work underway.

MS ORR: Minister, what priorities has the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community raised that the healing and reconciliation fund could support?


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