Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 6 June 2017) . . Page.. 1911 ..
the amendment bill, is important. Moreover, we can also agree that reaching equitable outcomes across all areas of need is important. We agree that the language of the existing act needs to move away from a deficit model to one that is more aspirational.
Do I think the current amendment bill meets those targets? No. As currently written, it falls short. I welcome the initiative by the minister to improve the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Act, but I suspect there is still a long way to go and that we will be seeing further amendments to address ongoing gaps in the provisions.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations) (11.48), in reply: I thank Mr Milligan for speaking on the bill today and for his support of the amendments set out in the bill. I would also like to thank the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety for their previous scrutiny of the bill and their feedback on the bill’s compliance with the Human Rights Act. Today I am tabling a revised explanatory statement to the bill which confirms that the bill is compliant with the Human Rights Act 2004 and is supported by article 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The ACT government is fully committed to the commonwealth’s ratification of and commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The UN declaration establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and wellbeing of first nations people throughout the world. This bill has been developed following extensive consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak stakeholders, including members of the outgoing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body.
As part of the ongoing consultation process with the elected body, I am bringing forward an additional government amendment as a matter of urgency in the detail stage. This amendment is based on feedback received from the elected body following the introduction of the bill. There was some concern from elected body members that the clause broadening the scope of consultation on matters related to local culture and heritage—that is, section 9(1)(a)(iii)—could be misinterpreted. Addressing this concern, the proposed amendment inserts an additional requirement for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body’s consultation plan, which is introduced under new section 12. This will require the elected body to describe the grounds on which it will use the more flexible consultation authority under section 9(1)(a)(iii).
While this amendment has not gone before the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety for scrutiny, both the opposition spokesperson and the Greens political party have been consulted and I understand they support the amendment being brought forward. The government amendment resolves the elected body’s concerns in a manner that empowers the elected body to self-determine, and it has the support of the current elected body.