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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2021) . . Page.. 2032 ..

Voting will open at 9 am on Saturday, 3 July at the NAIDOC Awards Ball—sorry, I think that should be the NAIDOC Family Day and will close at 5 pm on Saturday, 10 July with postal votes being accepted until 5 pm on Friday, 16 July. There is then a process of review and scrutiny before the results can be declared.

DR PATERSON: Minister, how is the government ensuring broad participation in the elections?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Again, I thank Dr Paterson for the question. As voting in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body elections is non-compulsory it is really important that we ensure that the opportunity to vote in this election is well communicated to the community. Every vote in the election strengthens the elected body’s mandate as a true representation of self-determination.

The Community Services Directorate and Elections ACT are working together to ensure that the elections are promoted to the community effectively. I was pleased to be able to attend the launch of the elections with the ACT Electoral Commissioner, Mr Damian Cantwell AM, and the outgoing chair of the elected body, Ms Katrina Fanning, last month as well as a meet the candidates event last night. A video of that event will be available online today or tomorrow, and it was great to see almost all of the candidates participating.

Polling will be conducted at a number of communities events, including at NAIDOC Family Day and the NAIDOC Awards Ball, to ensure voting is easy and convenient for all members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Polling places will also be set up at the Alexander Maconochie Centre, the National Indigenous Australians Agency in Woden and sites in Civic, Belconnen, Gungahlin and Tuggeranong. There will even be a polling place at the Canberra Raiders home game on Saturday, 3 July and at the Boomanulla Raiders home game on 10 July.

I urge all members here to use their networks and promote this important election and to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their electorates to get involved and get voting when the polls open. The Elections ACT website is a valuable source of information about the elections process and also about the candidates. And as per the ACT election, each candidate has been invited to provide a photograph and a statement about who they are and what they stand for.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, what are some of the achievements of the outgoing elected body?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Mr Pettersson for the question and the opportunity to remark on, to congratulate and to thank our outgoing elected body members. It has been an absolute privilege to be the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs throughout this term of the elected body. This term has been an outstanding example of what a democratic voice to government can achieve for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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