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Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Page: 8055


(Question No. 991)

Mr Katter asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Arts, in writing, on 21 June 2018:

(1) Will he enlighten the House and the people of Australia as to why history has been manipulated and the tax payer bled to fund a $50 million monument in his own electorate to the first 'reconciliation', when in fact Captain James Cook's Indigenous contact in Botany Bay was negligible and confrontational.(2) Is he aware that history clearly records that the real first reconciliation actually took place in Cooktown, in the electoral division of Leichhardt, where Daniel McCarthy has raised this important issue of our Australian history with me.(3) Is he aware that in two years' time, we as Australians will celebrate the 250 year anniversary of the landing of Captain James Cook in Cooktown—where the very first recorded reconciliation between Indigenous Australians and British explorers took place.(4) Will he acknowledge these proud facts of history and the very start and the coming together of 'two cultures one people'.(5) Will the Government divert the spending of this money to Cooktown to benefit and honour all Australians.

Mr Fletcher: The answer to Mr Katter's question is as follows:

1. The 250th Anniversary of Captain James Cook's first voyage to Australia and the Pacific will be held in 2020. The Australian Government is providing $48.7 million over four years from 2017-18 for a package of measures to commemorate the anniversary and allow Australians to mark this significant anniversary in a spirit of reflection that acknowledges the meeting of two cultures. This includes:

   a. $25 million to the New South Wales Government for works associated with the Kamay Botany Bay National Park Master Plan - the State Government is also making a $25 million investment in this $50 million project;

   b. $21.7 million in the Communications and the Arts portfolio to support a range of exhibitions, activities and events which will be delivered by the Australian National Maritime Museum, the National Library of Australia, the National Museum of Australia and this Department; and

   c. $2 million for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies to scope and commence activity relating to the repatriation of culturally significant items from overseas. Further commitments will be guided by the outcomes of the scoping exercise.

Of the $25 million allocated to the Kamay Botany Bay National Park Master Plan, $2 million has been earmarked for a monument. The Australian Government contribution is being administered by the Department of the Environment and Energy. The Kamay Botany Bay National Park falls within the electorate of Cook, which is currently held by the Treasurer, the Hon Scott Morrison MP.

2. The history of Cook's interactions with the Indigenous population of the east coast of Australia have been widely written about. These stories and many more will be an important part of the national dialogue surrounding the anniversary commemorations.

3. The Australian Government has announced the package of measures to be a culturally led acknowledgement of the anniversary that allows for the many and varied perspectives of the anniversary to be explored.

4. Cook's interactions with Indigenous people along the east coast of Australia will be reflected in a variety of ways through the package of measures provided by the Australian Government. For example, the National Museum of Australia has received funding to stage an exhibition, which will represent the perspectives of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians about the voyage and its continuing and contested legacies today. It will do this by counterpointing the 'view from the ship' with the 'view from the shore'. Activities undertaken by other agencies in the portfolio will similarly explore the anniversary from a range of perspectives.

5. These measures do not include a community grant program. The Government has no plans to supplement the package of measures already announced for the anniversary.