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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Friday, 23 April 2021) . . Page.. 1173 ..


MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for her supplementary question. We are already aware of a number of key priorities for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the ACT. The healing and reconciliation fund will be a key mechanism in enabling the community to progress these projects on their own terms. This includes the work towards establishing a Ngunnawal language centre. Language is such an important part of our culture. As we are all aware, the Ngunnawal language has some passionate advocates within our community. The commitment of Ngunnawal people to strengthening their language, with their generosity in sharing it with the wider community, is an immeasurable cultural asset for Ngunnawal people but also for Canberrans and all Australians. Once established, the Ngunnawal language centre will support this important work.

Another identified priority which the fund can support is the return of Boomanulla Oval and Yarramundi Cultural Centre to community control. This is a longstanding goal of the community, one that is shared by the government. The healing and reconciliation fund will facilitate the community and government to work together as genuine partners in building the capacity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations who may wish to undertake the management of these assets.

Members will be aware that across the country conversations about treaty are taking on a new shape. This is not a new conversation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but the willingness of governments to engage genuinely in this discussion seems to be generating real progress in many jurisdictions. The ACT has explicitly supported exploring a treaty for some years now. Achieving a treaty in the ACT will be a complex process, and one that must be led by traditional owners. It will be a process that draws on the community’s time and energy.

The healing and reconciliation fund will facilitate the community to take a direct role in determining how their work to advance treaty conversations is resourced. Again, in this budget we have started that process, through part of our $317,000 commitment to facilitate those treaty conversations with and between traditional owners.

MR PETTERSSON: Supplementary.

MRS KIKKERT: Supplementary.

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Pettersson.

MR PETTERSSON: Minster, in addition to the establishment of the healing and reconciliation fund, what work is underway to advance the priorities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for the supplementary question and Mrs Kikkert for her efforts. As has been outlined, the healing and reconciliation fund will be a long-term investment in self-determination and in strengthening the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled sector, in line with our commitments under the ACT agreement and the national agreement.


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