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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 13 May 2021) . . Page.. 1468 ..

I am glad to say that this year Reconciliation Day will again be marked with a marquee, government-funded community event in line with COVID-19 restrictions and advice. In previous years our Reconciliation in the Park event has been held in Glebe Park. This year’s event will be a little different, being hosted at the Arboretum, providing a large open space for the community to gather and participate in activities which facilitate reflection, conversation about our true history and celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. As people who attended the last Reconciliation in the Park may remember, it was bitterly cold, so the Arboretum also provides an opportunity to be indoors.

In addition to this public event, the Reconciliation Day grants program provides funding to individuals and organisations to hold meaningful initiatives in the lead-up to and during the Reconciliation Day public holiday.

MS ORR: Minister, can you provide some more detail about the community event at the Arboretum?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for her supplementary. As I mentioned in my previous answer, the government will be supporting this year’s Reconciliation Day with this public event at the Arboretum, and it will be an opportunity for all Canberrans to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and participate in family-friendly activities which will inspire reflection as well as celebration of culture and community.

Activities will include a yarning circle where community members will be able to sit with elders—Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional custodian and non-Indigenous—and participate in honest, responsible and respectful conversation to build relationships and promote understanding of the meaning of reconciliation.

Guided walks will be held which will make full use of the beautiful setting of the Arboretum and encourage connection and understanding of country and its importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Basket weaving will enhance the cultural understanding of Canberrans and offer another opportunity for conversation. Music and storytelling will be available to provide a safe, fun, family-friendly way for Canberrans of all ages to share in a celebration of culture. Of course, it would not be a public event in Australia without a sausage sizzle.

I look forward to as many members of the Assembly being at the Arboretum for this event, as in previous years. Further details will be available soon. We will be having a public campaign to raise awareness of it and, of course, there will be the other events that are supported through the Reconciliation Day grants as well, which I will be able to say more about in the next couple of days.

DR PATERSON: Minister, why is it important that we have a public holiday to mark Reconciliation Day?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Dr Paterson for the supplementary question. We all know too well that the history of Australian colonisation has been one in which

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