ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: ACT Election 2020: Supporting Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander Self-Determination

8 October 2020

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) today released its final 2020 ACT Election issue brief, calling for a commitment from all parties to prioritise Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander self-determination across all policy areas.

In the issues brief, ACTCOSS calls on the next ACT Government to recognise Ngunnawal custodianship and ensure Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander leadership and influence over the policies, programs and services that impact them.

Dr Emma Campbell, ACTCOSS CEO, said: “Respect and support for Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander self-determination must be embedded in the actions and policies of the next ACT Government.

“This means an incoming ACT Government must consult with the Ngunnawal people and all Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT on policies including: the development of a comprehensive Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander policy statement; mandatory Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander and Ngunnawal cultural awareness training for all Members of the Legislative Assembly; a United Ngunnawal Elders Council (UNEC) partnership agreement; and funding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body (ATSIEB) positions at a full-time rate.”

In addition to these whole-of-government commitments, ACTCOSS is calling for additional funding for Aboriginal community-controlled services in the ACT.

Dr Campbell said: “In consultation with the community, additional funding may be used to: support the design and commencement of an Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander child care agency; develop an Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander Housing Strategy for the ACT including a pathway to a community-controlled Aboriginal housing organisation; and construct a community-controlled Aboriginal residential alcohol and other drugs rehabilitation facility.

“As a non-Aboriginal organisation, ACTCOSS recognises the expertise of Aboriginal community-controlled organisations in the delivery services that are culturally safe and responsive.

“In supporting Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander self-determination in the ACT, we will continue to be guided by the United Ngunnawal Elders Council, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, Canberra’s existing community-controlled organisations and the broader community of Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander people in Canberra.

“An incoming government must prioritise these community voices and undertake genuine and regular consultation in its work towards achieving justice and fairness for Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT.”

Find the ACTCOSS 2020 ACT Election issue brief on Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander Self-Determination here.

Find all 12 issue briefs at the ACTCOSS ACT Election page.

ACTCOSS advocates for social justice in the ACT and represents not-for-profit community organisations.

For more information or comment, please contact
Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS, on 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200.