MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:28): Today is an important day, National Sorry Day, a day when we acknowledge the strength of stolen generations survivors. It is a day to ensure that we never lose sight of the importance of healing, focusing on strong future and the significance of Australia’s First People, who are the oldest living culture on earth. Settler Australians represent the heritage of many cultures from around the world, and it is critical as we work together as a society that we never lose sight of or respect for Australia’s First People. I am proud that our government is working towards treaty with traditional owners and Aboriginal Victorians on this important process.
Education and skills and training play an important role in our society, spanning beyond employment and the economy. They are key drivers for a more inclusive and equitable society that will resonate for future generations. That is why I am pleased that in this year’s budget we are investing a further $2.9 million to formally establish the nationally accredited certificate IV in teaching an Australian First Nations language. Corrina Eccles is a Wadawurrung woman, community leader and newly minted graduate of the teaching an Australian First Nations language course. It was a privilege to meet with her at the Gordon Kitjarra Centre, along with Christine Couzens, the member for Geelong, and other community members to discuss the significance of this course and of collaborating with traditional language holders to ensure integrity and respect.
As we enter Reconciliation Week, I hope all Victorians embrace the importance of all of us uniting to tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation.