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ministerial statement on the same issue. To say that there is little difference between the two statements would be a major understatement. In fact, there are entire paragraphs from my statement last year that are repeated in Mrs Carnell's statement. I fully accept that Mrs Carnell's views and sentiments on these matters may well be identical to my own - I assume that her middle name is not Demidenko - but I do think some recognition of the source of those views and those paragraphs might well have been appropriate.
I consider that one of the most significant responses to the report on Aboriginal deaths in custody and one of the most significant initiatives taken by my Government was the appointment of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Council. This meant that, alone of all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia, these peoples in the ACT have had direct access to the head of a government and direct input to policies across all portfolios. In my view, this is empowerment in action, not just empty rhetoric. The council provided advice to me and my then Ministers on a myriad of issues. They included relations with police, law reform, corrective services policy, education and language policies and, of course, the keeping place or cultural centre. The council was also crucial to the appropriate commemoration of the International Year of the World's Indigenous Peoples.
Perhaps more important than their advice to government, though, is the role the council can and must play in consulting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ACT and in providing all of those people with a voice to government. I realise that consultative processes can be long and somewhat messy; they do not often fit into a deadline-driven bureaucratic view of decision-making, and they are all the more important because of this. I also realise that the council's consultative role is sometimes a difficult one for them. We should no more expect all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to share the same view on important issues than we would expect it from any other disparate group of people. The council always sought to be inclusive in their consultations, and that is greatly to their credit.
I am happy to place on the record again my grateful thanks to Kaye Mundine and the council for all their work during the time I was in government. I pass on also my very best wishes to the new council in their work. There is, however, one note of disappointment that I had with the council, and that was that Ms Matilda House, a very prominent Canberra Aboriginal representative, has consistently declined to join the council. I invited Ms House to join the first council on a number of occasions but was unable to persuade her to do so. I genuinely hope that this present Government does succeed. I stress that I consider it essential that the council operate in as inclusive a way as it possibly can.
As I said earlier, one of the council's important tasks was to advise the then Government on the keeping place-cultural centre project, which had been recommended and accepted for funding from the casino premium. The council's advice was received fairly late last year, after an exhaustive consultative process. As members will know, the council's view was to emphasise the cultural aspects of the project. They were also very keen for the centre to be co-located with the Gallery of Aboriginal Australia. I share Mrs Carnell's view, as she has expressed it, that the best site for these developments was and remains Yarramundi Reach. Nevertheless, the decision on siting for the National Museum and the