Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 February 2018) . . Page.. 71 ..
can continue to work with community leaders to build stronger families and healthier lives.
Madam Assistant Speaker, 2016-17 was the first time agencies’ annual reports have contained a dedicated section reporting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs, policies and initiatives. This initiative provides the community with far greater clarity on the measures undertaken by the government to address and overcome disadvantage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It also enables us to tell the stories of success that are often missing from the narrative in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.
The ACT government is committed to “closing the gap” in disadvantage between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people in our city. While many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans achieve much better life outcomes than elsewhere in Australia, we are determined to address and measure progress in the significant areas of disadvantage where it persists in the ACT.
The government’s response to closing the gap, and indeed to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities, is highly aspirational in that it is about pursuing equitable outcomes, not just halving the gap. This, of course, requires a concerted and sustained effort, the harnessing of available resources, and for all of us to remain focused on a long-term, generational commitment, drawing on the considerable expertise that exists within both government and in the ACT community.
I have asked the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs to coordinate a whole-of-government response to the 11 recommendations in the report, and this work is underway. The government response will be prepared and tabled in accordance with the provisions in the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Act 2008.
In looking forward, the government will continue to champion and promote equitable outcomes and opportunities for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the ACT.
As I talked about this morning, 2018 will be a busy year in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, with work shortly to commence on the development of a new ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement, building on our achievements, learning lessons from the previous agreement and seeking to address gaps in our services, policies and programs. There is also work with the commonwealth on the refresh of the closing the gap agenda in addition to the continued delivery of services to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in the ACT.
I look forward to continuing the positive partnership with the elected body to reduce and overcome Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage and to celebrate the community’s many strengths and successes.
Mr Gentleman presented the following papers: