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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 8 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 2392 ..

MR MOORE: Thank you for that question, Mr Osborne. I will give a little bit of background information because I know that quite a number of members have been interested in this area. It is one of the areas where I have worked quite cooperatively with Mr Stanhope and his office. Members of the Aboriginal community raised concerns with the department in late 1998 about a range of financial issues and also the claim that the annual general meeting of the Winnunga Nimmityjah was not valid. There was a lack of accountability and inadequate service provision.

Since the application to the Supreme Court by a number of members of the Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service, an administrator was appointed and conducted a new election of the board for Winnunga. A new board has been elected. It is chaired by Mary Buckskin and it has resumed control over the management of the service. The department commissioned an audit of the service and the audit concluded that, while management and systems at Winnunga are generally satisfactory at present, major improvements have been made in the last six months and the situation prior to December 1998 may not have been satisfactory. Several recommendations for improvement were made in the body of the report and the department has been liaising with Winnunga to address those areas of concern. Winnunga has been cooperative in that process.

I think this comes to the nub of your question. The department no longer will be directly funding Winnunga through funds passed on by the Federal Department of Health and Aged Care as it has done in the past. Negotiations between the two departments were concluded in June and July of this year and a decision was made by the Commonwealth to fund Winnunga directly. The ACT will remain involved in guiding the service provision through the making of government policy and the funding of strategic projects from time to time. This outcome is merely an administrative arrangement and does not reduce in any way the ACT Government's commitment to providing effective health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ACT. However, from now on the reality is that the Commonwealth has taken over that funding and is doing it directly, so that is where the responsibility lies in relation to the question you asked.

MR OSBORNE: I have a supplementary question. Are you able to inform us how much money the Commonwealth will be providing to this service, or are you not aware? Are you able to provide that figure?

MR MOORE: I have taken up the specific level of funding on issue and will find out from the Commonwealth. My understanding is that there was no reduction in the level of funding, but I will find out whether that is accurate. I will find out the exact figure for you and let you know.

Drug Injecting Place

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Treasurer. Given the Government's introduction of the Drugs of Dependence (Amendment )Bill (No. 2), legislation introduced by Mr Moore last December to facilitate the establishment of a drug injecting place in Canberra, and the fact that this issue is neither unexpected nor unanticipated, can the Treasurer tell the Assembly why there was no provision for such a facility in the 1999-2000 budget?

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