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is unique and exciting. It will create a site of truly national significance for both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. These developments on Acton Peninsula have some potential benefits to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the ACT in terms of employment opportunities and in the promotion of local indigenous culture.

Mr Speaker, I would like to address the report in more detail. This is the second annual report produced by the ACT Government detailing the important steps taken to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The commission's report found that the most significant reason for the high numbers in custody was the disadvantaged and unequal position of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders in our society socially, economically and culturally. To address this, the commission's report emphasised the need to empower Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders and to return to them the control of their lives and their communities. The commission made 339 recommendations to Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. The recommendations addressed issues of empowering Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders, policing, custodial facilities and procedures, legislative reform, health, housing, employment and education.

The former ACT Government, with the Commonwealth, State and Northern Territory governments, released its response to the commission’s recommendations in March 1992. The ACT expressed its support for these recommendations and outlined the actions it would take to implement each of the 339 recommendations. This second annual report details what further progress has occurred to implement the recommendations of the royal commission since the 1992-93 report was tabled. I would like to draw members’ attention to the artwork and new-look format of the report. The cover features the new title and a print of the artwork that was commissioned by the former ACT Government to celebrate the International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples. I would also like to draw your attention to the artwork that appears on the covering page of each chapter. That was prepared for the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee Week, which is coming up very shortly.

A fundamental principle behind the royal commission's recommendations was that Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders should have greater control over their own lives, and the key element of this is political empowerment. A positive local initiative was the appointment of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council in 1993 to advise the Government. The council has provided these communities with a direct line of communication to the Government and it has provided a mechanism for the Government to seek the views of these communities. The term of the first council finished in March 1995. As I said earlier, I will be seeking nominations for the second ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Council. The first council had a major role in monitoring the implementation of the Government's commitments in relation to the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The ACT's Native Title Act 1994 was developed in consultation with the advisory council. The council also consulted publicly on this legislation. The ACT legislation validates existing titles, legislation and land management practices and uses, to the maximum extent allowed under the Commonwealth Act.

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