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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 7 August 2008) . . Page.. 3059 ..

The ACT government made history with the introduction of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Bill in the Legislative Assembly on 10 April 2008. This elected body initiative provides a voice for the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. The main goal is to ensure maximum participation by ATSI people in the ACT in the formulation, coordination and implementation of government policies that affect them. It provides a significant avenue for local people to have their say and to make a difference. The elected body will have seven members elected every three years and there will be a requirement in the act for the elected body to consider the views of the United Ngunnawal Elders Council. The first meeting of the new Indigenous body, which is scheduled for the beginning of July 2008, will be a landmark occasion in addressing unwanted issues and concerns.

The way that we acknowledge and celebrate multiculturalism in the ACT provides a platform for building interactions and communication between peoples. This is the glue that promotes respect and inclusiveness between people from different cultures. The elements I am particularly referring to are the very successful National Multicultural Festival and the development of the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre. Both of these bring together many groups to share and acknowledge each other’s heritage and both of these provide opportunities for multicultural groups to express and celebrate their achievements.

Report card 2008 highlights a vast number of opportunities for people of all backgrounds, levels of experience and qualifications to gain further opportunities for a pathway to employment. The work experience and support program, which is supported strongly by ACT government departments, provides the opportunity for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to gain employment in the ACT public service. The benefit definitely goes two ways.

There are many other examples of employment strategies which show the ACT government being particularly proactive in providing benefits for ACT residents. For example, there is the indigenous employment strategy for Territory and Municipal Services; ACTION’s Indigenous recruitment program; the Parks, Conservation and Lands Indigenous traineeship; the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services Indigenous traineeship program; and ACT Health’s Aboriginal health workforce implementation plan. Many other examples that are highlighted in report card 2008 contribute to people from all cultural backgrounds being able to live safely and harmoniously, have fun and enjoy their lives in a meaningful way.

I commend report card 2008 and “Facing up to racism: a strategic plan addressing racism and unfair discrimination 2004-2008” to the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Planning and Development Amendment Regulation 2008 (No 3)—Subordinate law SL2008-33

Paper and statement by minister

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations): Pursuant to the Legislation Act 2001, I present the following paper:

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