Page 3073 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 23 August 2005

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We have allocated $100,000 to commission a public artwork acknowledging the traditional owners of this land. The indigenous artwork will be displayed in a prominent place in the territory. An advisory committee has been established and has nominated a list of prominent indigenous artists who will be invited to submit expressions of interest in producing the artwork. I think it is most appropriate that we are commissioning a major artwork to signify that this land was occupied for at least 22,000 years prior to white settlement.

The government acknowledges that there is still a lot of work to be done in indigenous affairs in the ACT. But we are very proud of the work we, and the indigenous community, have done. The work we are doing is not only focused on helping individual people reach their full potential but on helping communities reach their full potential. When I say “community”, I am not just talking about the indigenous community—because as long as our nation’s first people suffer disadvantage each and every one of us is diminished. Working to redress this imbalance is something we must all do if we are to move forward at all in achieving reconciliation, and in dealing with the entrenched disadvantage that 200 years of discrimination and dispossession have caused for Aboriginal people in this nation.

Many great people have worked towards this goal in the past, and many more will continue to do so in the future. So long as we keep doing so, without petty reliance on patronising and discriminating ideas, like the federal government’s mutual obligation, we will prove our right to truly inhabit this place—to live in a place and work towards a future where no disadvantage carries an air of inevitability about it.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (4.34): I am pleased that this topic has been raised today as a matter of public importance as it follows on from my speech last week on a motion I moved in regard to indigenous health and it gives the Assembly a greater opportunity to focus on the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs in the ACT and discuss how they can be improved.

The Assembly will recall that last week I raised concerns expressed by the community sector about the state of ACT government negotiations with the Australian government over the family violence partnership program and that the ACT government might miss out on an opportunity to receive funding under this program. Whilst I was assured by Minister Gallagher that there were efforts being made to secure funding, I request that at some time during today’s discussion the ACT government provide the Assembly with a report on the state of the negotiations between the ACT government and the Australian government over the family violence partnership program, the amount of funding that the ACT government expects to derive from the agreement and its current ideas on how this funding might be delivered to the indigenous community to assist in preventing domestic violence.

Winnunga Nimmityjah is inevitably mentioned when we talk about indigenous affairs in the ACT. I have become aware of a problem that Winnunga is experiencing—as is, I might add, a number of other community organisations—in regard to the ability to deliver programs to the indigenous community due to the ratio of administration and program funding provided to Winnunga and, of course, other community organisations. The Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service advised my office that, while they

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