THE Barr government has been forced to publicly apologise to members of the Ngambri (Kamberri) community for the hurt and distress they have suffered as a result of its Indigenous Protocol.
The protocol recognises only the Ngunnnawal people as the traditional custodians of land within the ACT and surrounding regions.
The government has agreed to undertake a comprehensive review of the Indigenous Protocol after reaching a settlement with Ngambri elders Paul House and Leah House as part of a settlement ahead of Supreme Court hearings scheduled for next week.
In joint statement, Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury and indigenous affairs minister Rachel Stephen-Smith say that in 2002 the ACT government, following community consultation and acting on the advice of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, acknowledged the Ngunnawal people as the traditional custodians.
“This acknowledgement was subsequently formalised in an Indigenous Protocol, which has been used to guide the ACT Public Service and community in recognising the First People of this land,” the ministerial statement says.
“The territory acknowledges that Paul Girrawah House and Leah House, as well as other members of the Ngambri (Kamberri) people including those who they have called as witnesses in their case, have suffered hurt and distress as a result of the ACT Indigenous Protocol.
“The Territory apologises to the plaintiffs, their witnesses and other members of the Ngambri (Kamberri) community for the hurt and distress which they have suffered.”
The government now acknowledges that individuals and families who identify as Ngambri (Kamberri) are traditional custodians of land within the ACT