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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 20 September 2018) . . Page.. 3965 ..


and Road Safety and Minister for Mental Health) (4.48): I stand today to acknowledge that the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Service held a gala dinner to celebrate a significant birthday last week. I was overseas at the time showcasing the ACT’s efforts at climate change mitigation and renewable energy production; so I missed it. I was sorry to miss the celebrations but I have heard that a good night was had by all and that my Greens colleague Ms Le Couteur and Minister Stephen-Smith and Minister Fitzharris were in attendance.

I did think it would be appropriate to acknowledge how much this service contributes not only to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of Canberra but to Canberrans more broadly as well. Thirty years is a long time for any community organisation to be around and it is a credit to the strong leadership provided by Julie Tongs OAM that the organisation has not only survived but grown stronger and larger over this period.

From humble beginnings in days around the opening of the new Parliament House and increasing numbers visiting the Aboriginal Tent Embassy—Winnunga was founded by Olive Brown who identified a need for health and medical services for local and visiting Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—it expanded from a two-day a week clinic at the old Griffin centre through to a larger clinic at Wakefield Gardens in Ainslie to its current location in Narrabundah.

It now has over 60 staff and is a major health service resource for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of the ACT and surrounding region and delivers a wide range of holistic healthcare services. These services include but are not limited to: general practitioners, practice nurses, Aboriginal health workers, social and emotional health services, dental services and audiologists, an Aboriginal midwifery access program, chronic disease and patient incentive program and allied health services such as a podiatrist, a dietician, a psychiatrist and a physiotherapist.

The relationship with Winnunga has developed over time to become one of trust and confidence. Over three decades Winnunga has received assistance and funding from the ACT government, which is also a sign of confidence in their ability to deliver.

I welcome their presence in the AMC and am confident that their services will assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees to get their health and social and emotional wellbeing back on track. Their participation in justice reinvestment trials such as Yarrabi Bamirr is a sign that we as a government have been listening to the need to work with Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in a holistic way.

I want to return for a moment to acknowledge the work of Julie Tongs and her relentless and tireless efforts in not only providing health and wellbeing services but in raising issues of concern to Indigenous people in Canberra and the region. She has been outspoken in the need for Aboriginal community-controlled initiatives such as housing and the administration of Boomanulla Oval.

While we may not always feel comfortable on the receiving end of such criticism, that voice is nonetheless critically important. It is good to be reminded that we must recognise that Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in our city are entitled to the


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