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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 17 August 2017) . . Page.. 2926 ..

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, can you please explain how Indigenous history and heritage were explored and displayed in this year’s festival?

MR GENTLEMAN: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the historic 1967 referendum on whether to count Aboriginal people in the census. Many events of the festival subsequently centred on the rich Indigenous culture and heritage we have here in the ACT. The official theme of the festival was “Questions and Change”, which focused on celebrating past decades, including those intangible aspects such as stories, customs and traditions, all important parts of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture in our region.

Much of the festival activities on offer for local and interstate visitors involved specific references and were based on the role of Indigenous people in Canberra. These activities included weaving workshops using traditional methods, as well the opportunity for visitors to the festival to travel back to “The Dreaming” with an experienced Aboriginal guide. Events such as these allow the ability to witness and experience the connection to country that has remained an important aspect of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Regional partners in Nimmitabel, Gundaroo, Braidwood, Queanbeyan and Goulburn held similar events and worked with us to explore the Indigenous heritage present in all our regions.

Lastly, the government, working with the heritage trust, sought to provide a “path to reconciliation” experience through the use of a sculpture path in Reconciliation Place, creating a visual story of the steps taken to achieve self-determination for Indigenous people. Activities such as these provided local and interstate visitors as well as the community at large the opportunity to be part of a conversation around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion, recognition and the celebration of their culture.

MS LAWDER: Minister, what is the plan for the ACT’s historic 1210 locomotive, given that it is managed by the Railway Historical Society and you have no carriages?

MR GENTLEMAN: I thank Ms Lawder for her question. Even though it is outside the original question, it is an important question. The ACT government is supporting where it can the restoration of the engine. The engine at the moment is in pieces but it is an asset of the ACT government, so my directorate is keen to see that asset protected and restored at some point in the future. We will be working along those lines to get that done.

Children and young people—government support

MS ORR: My question is to the Minister for Disability, Children and Youth. How is the ACT government engaging with young people on the issues that matter to them?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Orr for her question. The ACT government is committed to working with Canberra’s young people. Many issues, such as insecure work, marriage equality, sexual identity and climate change, inspire the passions of Canberra’s young people. Knowing that government can appear to be complex from the outside, a key initiative to enable young people to speak to government and influence decisions is the Youth Advisory Council,

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