Page 2752 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 16 August 2005

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander illegal and problematic drug use. We know that dual diagnosis is a major problem. I would like to conclude by again quoting from the report. It states:

The completion of the Report is just the beginning of the Action Research, not the end of the research process. We will work with service providers and policy makers with the aim of ensuring that the voices of the 95 people we interviewed will be heard and that the findings of our research will be implemented.

Domestic violence and illegal drug use are highly related issues and, as such, I strongly encourage the ACT government to ensure that they make any Australian government funding for these issues available to the ACT community. If there are good reasons for not doing so, I would like to know them. I raised this matter of public importance today to ensure that the 95 people who want to be heard are heard. As you can imagine, there is a degree of cynicism in the indigenous community about the degree of commitment that governments have to assisting their community in overcoming their problems. Let us ensure that that conversation does not end here.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (4:24): The government recognises the importance of addressing illegal and problematic drug use amongst the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the ACT. We are strongly supportive of the directions outlined in the recommendations of the recent analysis conducted by Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Services and the ANU in their report titled I want to be heard. This local analysis provides a rare and extremely valuable insight into the depth and nature of the problems in the ACT from which we will continue to draw information to support the development of programs and policies.

The government is working actively to address the need for services in the ACT to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with substance abuse problems through a range of initiatives. I would like to outline a number of those here today. These include funding for two dual diagnosis outreach workers, one at the Winnunga Nimmityjah and one at Gugan Gulwan Youth Centre. These workers coordinate the provision of relevant mainstream and Aboriginal community controlled services to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients with a dual diagnosis of mental health and drug and alcohol problems, and their families; In addition, there is funding for a youth detoxification support service at Winnunga and Gugan Gulwan. Under the program workers provide support to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people up to the age of 25 years, allowing them to access detoxification services and undergo treatment.

Investigations are also under way into the establishment of an Aboriginal-run healing farm in Canberra to address the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our community, including those with substance abuse problems. A public tender was recently released for the development of a service model for the healing farm. Contract negotiations with the successful tenderer are currently under way and it is anticipated that a proposed service model would be available for consideration in early 2006.

The healing farm will be an innovative proposal and will have a focus on delivering services in a holistic manner targeting not only the client, but also their families; building close links with detoxification services while focusing primarily on healing and

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