Chairperson – Emessage No 18, 03 July 2018

Dear Community members

As we all are preparing for NAIDOC Week 2018 I have been reflecting on the contribution that women have made to my life and wish that I could thank so many women in the ACT community for all you have done for me and more importantly for our community.

Next week is an opportunity to thank all the women in our community who inspire, support and guide us to be the best we can because of the theme “Because of her, we can!” Please take the time next week to let someone who has helped you to know what a difference they have made in your life.

Our term as the Elected Body is almost at the one-year mark and it certainly has been busy.  We recently had our 6th meeting (not including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body’s two day Hearings) and we have been holding meetings with all Directorates on a regular basis.  The following outlines some of our focus areas and progress to date:

  • The ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Whole of Government Agreement and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Partnership are due for renewal. We have heard from many people that the agreement needs to have greater accountabilities tied to positive outcomes for our people, ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are central in the delivery and design of programs for us, that systemic racism needs to be addressed and above all else our focus needs to be on families and children.
  • A site very close to the Woden Town Centre has been selected for the second site of the Older person housing program. We are now discussing options with ACT Housing on design and function for the units.  We are keen to progress options that meet the needs of people who have active roles in caring for children and that allow for living space large enough for families to visit comfortably.
  • Work is under way on an ACT Government Indigenous procurement policy, this will focus on giving local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and organisations an opportunity to compete for Government work, and most importantly ensure that when the ACT Government are purchasing services from organisation that the ability to deliver to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is highly valued and monitored to ensure benefit is delivered to our community.
  • Whilst the long-term solution for Boomanulla Oval is yet to be finalised we have been working closely with the ACT Government on getting the site back to an acceptable standard for our community to use once again. Thanks also to Noel Ingram, Kim Davison and Member Walker for advice on the historical significance of the site and how to restore it appropriately.  This is only an interim solution and the Elected Body will keep as a priority the return of the Oval to community control and with a sustainable solution for operations long term.
  • At our Hearings earlier this year we learnt that the Joint Management Advisory Group for the Namadgi National Park had not formally met for a decade. This was not acceptable to us and members Keed and Hughes have been working with the Directorate and with the Ngunnawal community to restore and improve this agreement.
  • We are working with Skills ACT to develop a program that enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to have a pipeline from Education into a range of ACT Government jobs. Our vision is to be able to have real job opportunities available for all our children finishing secondary education, not just in the public service but across the spectrum of jobs in the ACT.

Community consultations

The Elected Body is required to, and feels it is vital to consult with the community to do our role well.  Whilst many times this happens in a very informal way we also have a consultation plan and schedule to provide open opportunities for discussion.  In March 2018, we held our first community forum with the topic of solutions focused care and protection and family violence.  A summary of what we learned at the forum is available on ATSIEB website, along with upcoming consultations with themes and venues.

Our members have also attended the ACT Policing community forums which were held at the Cultural centre, West Belconnen Child and Family Centre and Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation and will continue to collaborate with ACT Policing in working towards improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and divert people out of the criminal justice system.

We hosted a stall at Reconciliation Day in the Park and will again be at the NAIDOC Family Day at the University of Canberra – please come over and have a yarn with us.

 ATSIEB Hearings

The Hearings are our opportunity to ask each Directorate what they are doing to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT.  We are required post the hearings to report to Government our findings and recommendations from the hearings.  We received many questions from community members and prioritised your questions to ensure they were all asked.  The final report will initially be presented to the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and made available on the ATSIEB website.

Reconciliation Week 2018

The Elected Body celebrated and attended events over Reconciliation Week which included the ACT’s historic first Reconciliation Day public holiday in the Park, the University of Canberra’s National Reconciliation Week Breakfast and the Australia Catholic University’s 3rd Annual Reconciliation Dinner.  We acknowledge though that Reconciliation has not yet been achieved and that issues such as a Treaty, truth telling and the embedding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders rights as the First Nations people of this country all need much more work.

NAIDOC Week 2018

As I mentioned earlier we are looking forward to NAIDOC Week and we will be attending a number of events to mark the occasion including:

  • The Canberra and District NAIDOC Awards Ball for 2018 at the Canberra Southern Cross Club. This event is always a momentous event, and I am always inspired by the work and achievements occurring in our local community. We are proud to host a table for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who give their time to provide advice on a range of other bodies including the ACT Youth Advisory Council, ACT Domestic Violence Prevention Council, Ministerial Council for Ageing, Mental Health Advisory Council, Veterans’ Advisory Council and the Ministerial Advisory Council for Women.
  • The following day we will also be one of the many stall holders at the NAIDOC Family Day from 11am – 4pm at the University of Canberra. We will have members there all day for you to meet and discuss your priorities and aspirations for our community
  • On Monday 9 July 2018 from 11 am we will be at the Legislative Assembly Reception Room, for the ACT NAIDOC Flag Raising ceremony
  • For more than two decades our community supported a NAIDOC Luncheon that was hosted by Aboriginal Hostels Limited, unfortunately this event was unable to continue in 2015 and has not been held since. We are proud to partner with the Community Services Directorate to bring this event back to the local NAIDOC Calendar on Wednesday 11 July 2018.  If you want to purchase tickets or find out more information on the event the following link will help you out  https://www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=398385.

Upcoming events

Any events in the ACT that the elected body attend, or are involved in, will be regularly added to the calendar on the ATSIEB website at www.atsieb.com.au.

Contact us

The Elected Body are keen to hear from you, whilst we are part time office holders our Secretariat staff can take your call or email any time during the week and will make sure we get the requests promptly.  You can ring the office on 62052551 to make an appointment to see any of the members or email us at atsieb@act.gov.au.

Katrina Fanning
Chairperson

ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body