Media Releases

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Hearings Report – August 2023

Today The ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body formally presented the 2023 Hearings Report to Minister Stephen-Smith. The Hearings were held in August 2023 and represent the opportunity for the Elected Body and broader community to ask questions of all ACT Directorates regarding issues affecting their lives.

Deputy Chairperson Paula McGrady said, “While we acknowledge that change often takes commitment and time from both parties – the recent focus on coordinating and reporting of the ACT and National Agreements has drawn attention away from the criticality of actually making in change in what governments do and how they do it”.

To accelerate progress against targets, and to have any chance of meeting them, the report encourages ACT Directorates to better understand the commitments the ACT and Commonwealth Government have made, they need to plan to do things differently and, in many cases, they need to work better across agencies.

At today’s handover Deputy Chairperson McGrady also asked minister Stephen-Smith to discuss with her fellow Ministers the areas of priority within the report for immediate action.

Those being:

  • Decreasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in child protection
  • Decreasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on remand within AMC and diversion programs within the Justice and Community Safety portfolio
  • Accelerating the handover of community Assets and increase in community control
  • Focus on supports for early childhood, education, and health including vaccination, screening and wrap around supports in early childhood education
  • Accelerating the move to proportional funding.

The Hearings in 2023 were live streamed so that community members could watch, and many took the opportunity to send questions to members.

Whilst the report shows many areas of improvement are needed the Elected Body commends the ACT Government and its staff for committing to an independent voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and for participating in a process that allows for transparency and accountability directly to the community.

The next round of hearings are scheduled for early April 2024.

Read the Report from Hearings 14–16 August 2023.

Media Contact: Katrina Fanning AO PSM 0400157637

Media contact

ATSIEB Secretariat

(02) 6205 2551

Media release

21 March 2024


Acknowledgement of Country


The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body acknowledges the traditional custodians of Canberra, and those who have made it their home. We celebrate their ongoing culture and contribution to the ACT and surrounding regions.