Page 2958 - Week 08 - Thursday, 17 August 2017

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manage funding and reporting to ensure cross-portfolio outcomes. This would ensure that all matters pertaining to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are responded to appropriately and with transparency. We agree with the committee’s recommendations that for all future budgets and annual reports the ACT government should provide a separate annex detailing Indigenous spending, progress made against targets and other outcomes reached and do this for relevant output classes and accountability indicators.

I want to turn now to another area of the budget for this directorate. I spoke recently in the Assembly about this important area of particular concern—the large and growing number of Indigenous children receiving the support of child and youth protection services. It has jumped from 520 to 730 in the last 12 months. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare annual report on child protection for 2015-16 shows that the rate ratio for Indigenous children receiving child protection services in the ACT was nearly 12 times that of non-Indigenous. That is the highest in Australia. I continue to question: are we in the ACT heading towards a second stolen generation?

What concerns me even more is that this government has not yet understood that to make a difference the Indigenous community needs to be involved. I draw the minister’s attention to a recent report released by the ABS based on the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survey, which states that to make a difference in educational, employment and training outcomes and to lower engagement with high-risk and antisocial behaviours, Indigenous children need to be connected to their community, culture and local language.

The survey showed that an important part of building connections to community, culture and family for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was spending time with community leaders and elders. Particularly in the early years, investment in culture was critically important. It provided social and emotional benefits not only for the children but also for their families and communities. There was evidence that this investment strengthened communities, bridged cultural divides, fostered resilience, and contributed to reconciliation—all the things that lead to closing the gap and improving outcomes for Indigenous communities.

This government has promised to spend half a million dollars on the growing healthy kids program. In the brochure this appears to be for the Indigenous community, but it is an initiative which does not solely involve the Indigenous community and is actually for the whole Canberra community. Although during the estimates hearings the director reported that Gugan Gulwan was involved in the growing healthy kids strategy in Gungahlin, we have been advised by Gugan that this is not the case. As a side note, there is yet again no additional funding in this year’s budget to meet the growing needs of this organisation and to support them in the wonderful work they do in the Indigenous community.

We applaud the current announcement of the pilot for a family group conferencing intervention program. We would like to know what money is being spent on this. Where in the budget is this initiative covered? We wish to know what outcomes are being sought for the family group conferencing initiative and how this will reduce the

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