Page 3080 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 23 August 2005

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Having addressed the issue of the cultural centre, let us look at Winnunga Nimmityjah. Yes, they have a new building, Chief Minister: well done. You have taken an old building and adapted it to a new use. But the fear of the staff at Winnunga Nimmityjah is that they do not have the resources to deliver the services they would like to deliver. Why don’t you go down and talk to them, Chief Minister, and find out what they want? They tell us what they want. Obviously you are not listening to them.

One of the things that we worked very hard at when we were last in office was to have good relations with the various groups which represent indigenous people in the ACT, and we all know that there are various groups. The problem with this Chief Minister is that he favours one group over the others and the constant complaint that we get is that the other groups have been marginalised. So much for the inclusive Chief Minister. So much for leadership from a Chief Minister who wants to bring these groups together. There is a lot of talk here, but so little action.

The Chief Minister says that there is an extra $7.7 million of funding in the budget. Well done. I hope that it will be actually spent, unlike the money for the centre at Yarramundi Ridge. I hope that it will get spent, instead of sitting on the shelf unused. The problem for indigenous affairs under this Chief Minister is that absolutely nothing happens. For instance, we set out on an ambitious program to deal with indigenous issues in the ACT when we were last in government. We worked on the cultural centre. We got that land back from the federal government when it built the museum on Acton Peninsula so that we could have the cultural centre.

One of the quite exciting things that happened was that we signed the agreement for the use of Namadgi, for the return of lands for the use of traditional owners in Namadgi. We signed that agreement and we set up the Namadgi advisory board so that we could work together on that. That was a real achievement of the previous government. As I have already pointed out, in June 1977 the Assembly as a whole, under the auspices of Kate Carnell, Liberal Chief Minister of the ACT, arranged to say sorry and invited Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders to appear here. Mr Stefaniak was here and he remembers that. We invited indigenous people into their Assembly to have their say, an historic thing for this country.

We looked at the way we police things and we set up the Aboriginal liaison officers and gave better training to our police officers so that they understood the sorts of problems they were dealing with when they encountered Aboriginal people through the criminal justice system. We set up the indigenous business chamber to ensure that they had an economic future as well. It is about action, Mr Deputy Speaker, not just words.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra) (5.02): I was concerned to hear a number of things that were said. The first was that the government is not necessarily inclusive of all Aboriginal groups and is trying perhaps to play favourites. I think that is most unfortunate indeed. It is important to include the various groups in our community and to come out, as best you can, with a consensus approach. That is something that might take time, but it is crucially important. It is something that I recall took time in terms of the education consultative committee. There were varying views there and the groups were not necessarily pulling together. It did take a number of years before they did that themselves, coming up with

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