Download the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement 2019-2028
Self Determination and Statement of Commitment
The Agreement recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s first people. First people have the right to self-determination which is an ongoing process of choice to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are able to meet their social, cultural and economic needs.
The ACT Government and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the ACT in actively influencing and participating in social, economic and cultural life.
The right to self-determination is based on the simple acknowledgment that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are Australia’s first people, as was recognised by law in the historic Mabo judgement.
The Agreement recognises that the land known as the Australian Capital Territory had been occupied, used and enjoyed since time immemorial by Aboriginal peoples in accordance with their traditions. Country is of spiritual, social, historical, cultural and economic importance to Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are one with their country. Country enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to identify who they are, who their families are, who their ancestors are, and their stories.
The Agreement enables Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to exercise self- determination and have the ability and resources to provide their own solutions, acknowledging that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership is central to the process of ensuring the long-term emotional and physical wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The Agreement builds on the strength of the previous Agreement (2015—2018) to be accountable to ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body, to provide accessible and equitable services that aim to improve the social, environmental, economic and cultural infrastructures within their communities.
The Agreement sets the long term (10 year) direction in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the ACT and obligates the signatories to work together to enable equitable outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ACT.
Andrew Barr, Chief Minister
Katrina Fanning, Chair, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body
Rachel Stephen-Smith, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs
Kathy Leigh, Head of Service, ACT Public Service
Realising the human rights of ACT Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander peoples: the distinct cultural rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are specifically recognised in s.27(2) of the ACT Human Rights Act and public authorities must support the exercise of those rights by the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Respectful interaction with the community. People appreciate being recognised, listened to and understood. Relationships develop when we interact.
- Work with different communities differently. Avoid one size fits all solutions. Tailor a response that meets the needs of the individual.
- Increase value for the community. Building relationships increases value for the community, ACT Government and service partners.
- Continuously improve the level of service delivered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Seek and follow up on both positive and negative feedback we receive from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Enable information sharing and interaction across the ACT Government and service partners. Simplify the experience for the community by developing a holistic view of each client’s relationship with government, organisations and services.
Reporting and Analysis
Implementation of the Agreement will be over four phases, coinciding with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body elections. This will allow the incoming Elected Body to work with the ACT Government in setting priorities for the next phase.
In 2020, the term of the fourth Elected Body was extended by one year (to July 2021) due to the challenges of holding an election during the COVID-19 pandemic. All Agreement partners supported changes to implementation timelines to maintain the alignment between Agreement phases and terms of the Elected Body.
In 2021, the response to the COVID pandemic continued to impact the Elected Body and implementation of the Agreement as all Agreement partners prioritised support for Indigenous people. Agreement partners endorsed further changes to timelines for Phase One and Phase Two implementation. Phase One continued for an additional six months to June 2022 to support implementation of existing commitments impacted by COVID-19.
The revised implementation timelines are:
February 2019 – June 2022
July 2022 – December 2024
January 2025 – December 2027
January 2028 – December 2028
Two tiers of reporting will support us in monitoring performance against the Agreement.
- Outcomes Framework will track our performance against the core outcomes identified in the Agreement. Strategic Indicators will be reported to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sub Committee of the ACT Strategic Board and made publicly available via an annual statement of performance by the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.
- Focus Area Action Plans will track the work underway to achieve the targets set in the Outcomes Framework. Directorates will report against the actions prescribed as part of their reporting process and will update actions as work progresses towards achieving the 10 year outcomes.
Children and young people: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people growing up safely in their families and communities.
Cultural integrity: A society that supports the aspirations of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and contributes to the building of respectful, fair and sustainable communities.
Inclusive community: A self-determined and inclusive society where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are valued, respected, and experience a life free of racism and systemic discrimination.
Community leadership: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a strong voice, are decision makers on issues that impact them and lead in the achievement of positive life outcomes.
Connecting the community: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members are connected to strong families, and social and support networks building upon the foundation of community leadership.
Lifelong learning: Respect is given to preserving the world’s oldest living cultures which enhances social inclusion and empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to fully engage in lifelong learning and positive generational experiences.
Economic participation: Equality of access to employment and growth in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and community services organisations which drives economic development across their communities.
Health and wellbeing: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have equity in health and wellbeing outcomes as any other members of the community.
Housing: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have equitable access to affordable, secure and appropriate housing suitable to their needs.
Justice: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their families and communities thrive in a safe environment and have equitable access to justice and culturally safe restorative justice, prevention and diversion programs.
The Agreement’s Action Plans describe how we will deliver on the core and significant focus areas of the Agreement. The Action Plans identify actions across government against all ten focus areas, chosen by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community:
Page updated: 25 Jan 2023