The partnership between Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the ACT Government continues to strengthen with the formal signing of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement 2019-2028.
The Agreement, signed today, builds on the strength of the previous Agreement (2015-2018) and sets the long term direction in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the ACT. It outlines how the ACT Government, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and our non-government partners will work together to meet the social, cultural and economic needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Chief Minister, Andrew Barr; Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Rachel Stephen-Smith; Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, Katrina Fanning; and Head of the ACT Public Service, Kathy Leigh signed the Agreement in the presence of Government and community members.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the new Agreement reinforces the ACT Government’s commitment to self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans, and to recognising and responding to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the ACT.
“Over the course of the ten-year Agreement we will make significant progress in improving lives and outcomes for the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. This Agreement also pays respect to the special place of Australia’s first people in our inclusive community, and commits us to doing more to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the ACT and to celebrate the world’s oldest living cultures.”
Katrina Fanning, Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body said, “We have the opportunity in the ACT to lead the nation in closing the gap in life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and collectively we are committed to this. This Agreement reflects what our community knows to be true, that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led decision making is the key to closing the gap.”
Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Rachel Stephen-Smith thanked the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body for its deep engagement with the community over the last year in workshops and consultations to set the priorities in this Agreement.
“The community and government are working in partnership, and these priorities will drive initiatives across government to bring about change. Over the life of the Agreement we will be reporting regularly on progress and working with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community on new programs and challenges.” Ms Stephen-Smith said.
The Agreement commits the ACT Government and community partners to self-determination as the guiding principle in the delivery of programs and services and are working in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to address matters that are important to them.
Its four core focus areas are Children and Young People, Cultural Integrity, Inclusive Community and Community Leadership. Further significant focus areas of the agreement cover Connecting the Community, Life Long Learning, Economic Participation, Health and Wellbeing, Housing, and Justice.
The Agreement artwork, ‘Strength in Community,’ was commissioned from Canberra artist Leah Brideson and was on display for the first time at the signing event.
The Agreement is available on the Strong Families portal here: https://www.strongfamilies.act.gov.au/home
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Section: Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA | Media Releases
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