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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 7 June 2018) . . Page.. 2236 ..

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and government bodies has a critical impact on the effectiveness of government policies and programs and the capacity of Indigenous people to achieve social equity and secure self-determination. We need to continue our efforts to put more resources into improving these relationships.

We know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the community are grossly over-represented in the ACT justice system, child protection system and homelessness sector. This is because of generations of prejudice and disadvantage. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up only about three per cent of our population, but they are a staggering 27.3 per cent of people incarcerated in Australia. For women the figure is 34.3 per cent and for juveniles it is an almost unbelievable 48 per cent.

I know that my colleague Mr Rattenbury is trying very hard to combat this through justice reinvestment in his role as Minister for Corrections. Yarrabi Bamirr, which is a Ngunnawal word for “walk tall”, is a family focused program to prevent recidivism, delivered in partnership with Winnunga Nimmityjah. As part of this program, social health team workers from Winnunga work together with families to co-design unique family plans to assist them to become self-managing, healthy and safe. They address goals across health, justice, education and employment. This is one example of the work underway to address this issue.

Overall, Reconciliation Week gives us the opportunity and, even more than that, the incentive, the reminder, to understand the adversity faced by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and, more joyfully, recognise the valuable contributions members of this community have made and will continue to make. On this note, as we say every morning, I pay my respects to their elders past and present.


MS LEE (Kurrajong) (4.27): My colleagues may be sick of hearing about my school visits, but I rise to talk about two more. As you may be aware, Madam Speaker, my previous adjournment speeches have been about some of the great independent and Catholic schools that I have been able to visit. Today I have the great pleasure to talk about visits to two wonderful government schools in the ACT.

First, I want to talk about Palmerston District Primary School. The acting principal, Kate Flynn, and the director of school improvement for the north Gungahlin network spoke to me about the challenges and opportunities that the school has adapted to, in particular with the new suburb of Crace, which provided a healthy boost for enrolments and bred new life into the school. I would run out of time if I were to speak about all the great features I saw at the school, from the kindergarten teachers, who have really developed a passion for reading in students and families, to the gifted and talented program and their focus on mentoring graduate teachers. For those who still believe, or ever believed, that our teachers have a pretty easy life, with just a couple of hours in the classroom, short days and long holidays, let me say that the teachers I met at Palmerston and every other school I have visited demonstrate clearly how wrong that is.

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