Page 1231 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2015

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Specifically, the agreement provides for a number of actions and initiatives, including: further improvements to the delivery of culturally appropriate services; easier access and a clearer picture of the available services; building outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into service funding agreements; supporting the development of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders; and increasing ACT government involvement in events that celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

These measures respond to the consultation process I have spoken about and have the ability to lead to real gains in the education and employment pathways of young people, as well as support services for individuals or families dealing with the problems of disadvantage.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement also builds on the already unique status of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body in the ACT. We are the only jurisdiction with an elected body of this nature to which the government and public service are accountable through formal public meetings and regular interactions.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, how will you ensure the agreement remains current and accessible over time?

MS BERRY: The ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement will initially span three years. We have set out to create a living document which is able to change and adapt to the needs of the day. We expect an ongoing dialogue to guide any changes along the way. As 2018 approaches, we can also properly review the effectiveness of the agreement and the shape that it takes into the future.

The elected body members, particularly through their portfolio areas, have good access to the government and, given that we have all signed up to this agreement in a spirit of goodwill, we have a shared commitment to make it work. Beyond the prescribed mechanisms I hope the local community input that I have spoken about will continue to flow.

When we look at some of our key goals under this agreement around strong families and cultural identities, the indicators of success will not always be easy to quantify, which is why it must be a living document where different perspectives and different experiences are welcomed. This input will be vital to evaluating the success of the initiatives that are to be rolled out under the agreement.

Where we see success and where we can extend these models into other areas, this agreement provides both the guidance and the impetus to do so.

Mr Barr: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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