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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 December 2021) . . Page.. 3962 ..

MR RATTENBURY: We have a range of accountability mechanisms and reporting that takes place every year. For example, the minister’s annual report on climate change details a lot of this information. Members are free to come in here and ask, as they are doing today, about these matters. There are a lot of measures there. I will check on that other matter and, as I said, I will come back to Assembly with more information.


MR BRADDOCK: My question is for the Minister for Multicultural Affairs. Minister, I have constituents concerned about the backlog of citizenship conferral ceremonies due to the COVID lockdown preventing citizenship ceremonies. What is the government’s plan to address this backlog?

MS CHEYNE: I thank Mr Braddock for the question and his interest in this. Yes, lockdown did affect our ability to hold citizenship ceremonies due to their very nature, being held in person. Citizenship is something that is a matter for the Australian government, but we work in partnership with the Department of Home Affairs in conducting citizenship ceremonies. The Department of Home Affairs conducts its own, but it works with the ACT government and also with city councils across Australia in determining when those citizenship ceremonies are held.

We know that there is a backlog that is consistent right across the country. The backlog, as I understand it, is less in the ACT than in the majority of the states. What we are doing to assist with this is have as many people as we possibly can in the citizenship ceremonies. That has meant fewer guests or no guests due to the density restrictions. We did restart our citizenship ceremonies in November, and we have been holding three a day instead of the usual two a day. We will be continuing to do this throughout the coming months until at least March. That should help us clear up the backlog.

It is important to note that we do not get a list of everyone who is waiting from the Department of Home Affairs. We usually get advised two or three weeks before the next scheduled citizenship ceremony. So I cannot provide specific advice on when someone’s citizenship ceremony may be held, but people are very welcome to contact the Department of Home Affairs.

MR BRADDOCK: Minister, have you made representations to the federal government to increase their level of citizenship ceremonies to address the backlog?

MS CHEYNE: No, I have not at this stage, but we do have a meeting of multicultural affairs ministers in the coming days. I will be happy to raise the issue then.

MR DAVIS: Minister, based on your conversations with your federal government counterpart, when do you expect to get on top of the ACT’s backlog?

MS CHEYNE: It might depend on whether the federal minister will agree to the Department of Home Affairs processing a few more. I expect that the additional ceremonies that we will have—we also have ceremonies coming up next week and

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