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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Wednesday, 29 November 2017) . . Page.. 5202 ..

results and NAPLAN attendance. I mentioned at that time, and reiterate here, that the targets for Indigenous students remain the same and have remained the same for the past five years—on average 66 points behind that of their non-Indigenous peers.

As I have said previously, this government is interested not in closing the gap on underachievement for the Indigenous community but in maintaining the status quo. This is especially disappointing as there are great organisations such as the Clontarf Foundation and the Solids program who would love to be working in our schools with our Indigenous students. They are programs with a proven track record of success, and programs which have made an enormous difference in the lives of Indigenous people across Australia.

Education is such a key area for breaking the cycle of generational disadvantage. It brings about changes in health, employment, welfare and housing. Just finishing school can have a huge impact on lives. And working with Indigenous organisations steeped in Indigenous culture, with an understanding of Indigenous people, can bring about those changes.

If we want to celebrate Indigenous success, let us start not with changing the language but with changing how we work with the community. Let us start not with “ceasing negative claims” but with making a change in the ongoing negative and damaging behaviours. Let us start by not ignoring the facts. And let us start by implementing programs that work and make a difference in the lives of our Indigenous community, so that next year we can stand here and also celebrate with them.

A vision for 2018: improved health, lower numbers in incarceration, fewer children in care and, as a start, improved educational outcomes for our Indigenous students.

MR STEEL (Murrumbidgee) (10.15): Canberra is the city that I grew up in and it is a city to be proud of. I think the key word that we need to get used to is “city” because Canberra is growing and Canberra is increasingly becoming a place where people want to live and work. It is a progressive city, an international city, where things happen and where people want to visit. We are no longer a country town receiving the occasional visit from a school coach to parliament. We are a city that, particularly in the last decade, has begun to forge its own identity outside the 276 mostly Australian citizens who grace the parliamentary triangle for half of the year, including the 76 here today who are finally catching up with our inclusive city, which legislated for marriage equality.

The achievements of our government, even in the last year, have been quite incredible. If you had asked any Canberran 10 years ago how likely it would be for our airport to be a truly international one, you would have been met with a lot of scepticism. Perhaps that was a hangover from the Carnell days and the “Feel the power of Canberra” campaign. Yet in the last year we have seen not one but two major international airlines announce and begin flights from Canberra Airport to international destinations, hopefully with more to come. Singapore Airlines first touched down on the tarmac in September 2016 and by February 2018 Qatar Airways will begin servicing Canberra.

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