Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 2698 ..
MR WOOD: My question is to the Chief Minister. It is about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Council. During the July Estimates Committee hearings you said that the council was "very close to being appointed, very much at the conclusion, really". Perhaps I have missed an announcement about this important body. Can the Minister tell the Assembly whether the council has been appointed at this stage, and perhaps why it has not if it has not been? What demands on the time of council members are envisaged? Will they be offered remuneration for their time and effort?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, the term of the last Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Council expired on 31 March this year. Members of the indigenous community have expressed concerns about the operation of the consultative council. The indigenous community was asked for expressions of interest to be on the new council, but unfortunately the expressions of interest were very low. I think there were five or six altogether. We decided that we needed to approach it in a different way, and we have had discussions with various members of the indigenous community with regard to how that may be achieved.
A review of the role, the membership and the operations of the council is under way with members of the indigenous community to try to come up with a model that people are interested in being part of. The Government cannot and should not make people be on a consultative council if they do not want to be. I think it is really important that the indigenous community be consulted on the role and decision-making processes of the representative body, and I think it is really important that the indigenous community generally be happy with the model that is in place.
As I said, we have been consulting with members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, with organisations and with community members. The review should be completed about now. We were looking at mid-November. A report will be prepared on the outcomes. I am very happy for Mr Wood to be as much a part of that as possible. I think it is important for all members of this Assembly and the community to have a consultative council that works and is active.
MR WOOD: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. That answer seems a bit at odds with the earlier statement that it was very much at the conclusion. Nevertheless, as we have had earlier debates in this Assembly about the reconciliation process, as another initiative towards reconciliation will the Chief Minister, perhaps by way of ministerial statement, indicate other initiatives towards reconciliation?
MR SPEAKER: I will allow that.
MS CARNELL: If members would like a ministerial statement on reconciliation, I am more than happy to give one.