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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 2035 ..

Estimates 2002-2003-Select Committee


MR SPEAKER: I have been notified in writing of the nomination of Ms Dundas, Mrs Dunne, Ms Gallagher, Mr Hargreaves and Mr Humphries to be members of the Select Committee on Estimates 2002-03.

Motion (by Mr Quinlan ) agreed to:

That the members so nominated be appointed as members of the Select Committee on Estimates 2002-03.

Aboriginal health

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received letters from Mrs Dunne and Ms MacDonald proposing matters of public importance. I dealt earlier with the letter from Mrs Dunne. Ms MacDonald's matter of public importance will be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The importance to the Canberra community of the state of Aboriginal health.

MS MacDONALD (3.46): Mr Speaker, I rise today to speak about a long-standing issue of national concern-indigenous health. Last week we passed an important historical milestone for Australia: the 10th anniversary of the Mabo decision in 1992, which reshaped our nation's methods and ability to deal with traditional land ownership. As this historical milestone passed, I joined with many Australians in reflecting on how we as a community and as a nation have dealt with many indigenous issues.

Ms Gallagher's matter of public importance on Tuesday brought indigenous suffrage to the Assembly's attention, and I wish to thank her for that and her passion for real reconciliation.

It is a sad reality that, despite the best efforts of this country's proud and determined indigenous population and indigenous leadership, very little progress has been made in important areas. Many well-meaning governments at all levels have made determined efforts to improve aspects of indigenous health, most with mixed results. I believe that a successful and positive way forward is through addressing specific indigenous health issues through cultural needs.

Specific indigenous services have shown promising results and, as with most community or ethnic groups, success emerges from empowerment. The standard of the health and wellbeing of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders is still far behind that of the rest of Australia. I am choosing deliberately not to use the term "white Australia" because the fact is that Australians of all ethnicities are far outstripping local indigenous populations in the area of health and wellbeing.

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