State and Territory Ministers collaborate on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs
Yesterday I attended a Ministerial roundtable with state and territory Ministers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in Perth.
The meeting was a great opportunity to discuss issues of national importance such as the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) review of the Closing the Gap targets and initiatives, economic development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the recent Uluru Statement and agreement-making processes currently underway in some jurisdictions.
This was the first time Ministers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs have come together since 2011. Ministers and other representatives from the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Northern Territory, Western Australia and Victoria attended the discussions, along with a senior official from the Commonwealth.
All Ministers thanked the Western Australian Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Ben Wyatt MLA for hosting today’s meeting, and agreed that we should meet again later this year.
I was joined at the meeting by the Director-General of the Community Services Directorate, Michael De’Ath, and we were pleased to highlight the ACT Government’s commitment to strong families, connected communities and economic participation and development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Canberrans.
Other jurisdictions expressed interest in the ACT’s experience with our unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body (ATSIEB), which was established in 2008 after the abolition of the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. Elections for the ATSIEB’s fourth term will take place from 1-8 July, with a record 25 candidates for the seven elected positions.
In turn, we were keen to get an update on Victoria and South Australia’s agreement-making processes, and the economic development measures all states are implementing, including the use of government procurement and support for new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.
I look forward to future meetings with my State, Territory and Commonwealth colleagues as we consider COAG’s Closing the Gap review and our shared commitment to the empowerment and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Statement ends -
Section: Rachel Stephen-Smith, MLA | Media Releases
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