Page 4484 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 18 October 2011

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jurisdictions, approximately 30 per cent, compared with the national average of 50 per cent. I think that just goes to show absolutely Dr Pete’s commitment to improving health outcomes for the local community.

In recognition of this substantial commitment and contributions to improve the health of those experiencing alcohol, tobacco and other drug problems, the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT, ATODA, has recently established a charitable trust in the name of Dr Pete. Funding from the trust will be directed towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living and working in the ACT region, as well as those working in the areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. We have heard from the Chief Minister of our contribution and support to continue Dr Peter’s work through the Dr Peter Sharp scholarship.

Dr Pete’s distinguished career was characterised by his selfless commitment to a better quality of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. He undoubtedly enriched the lives of the local Indigenous community and, through it, the broader Canberra community. His contribution to the quality of life of countless individuals I imagine will be remembered for very much some time to come.

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella): I would like to speak in recognition of a truly inspirational, committed and dedicated Canberran in Dr Peter Sharp. These words have been used by other members today in speaking about Dr Sharp, but, as my colleague Ms Hunter has already said, these words ring true in so many ways. The words from Dr Sharp’s memorial service, noting a life less ordinary, sum up his life and contribution to the ACT community—in particular, his work with Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service for more than 22 years.

I would like to read words of Julie Tongs, CEO of Winnunga Nimmityjah, delivered at Dr Sharp’s memorial service in which Ms Tongs also credits Dr Sharp’s partner, Carolyn Patterson, with encouraging him to stay on at Winnunga. She said:

Coping in the Aboriginal health system can burn people out and it does. However, Dr. Pete demonstrated a remarkable commitment to Aboriginal health. This was his life. Winnunga, the staff and its clients are what drove him and he never complained. At the same time, Dr. Pete had to earn the trust and respect of his clients, something that is very hard for a non-Indigenous person to achieve. Indigenous people are reticent about taking health and medical concerns to a non-indigenous person. However, Dr. Pete had a distinctive understanding of where his clients were coming from and an understanding of Aboriginal cultural conditions. He was the only doctor working in an Aboriginal Health Service to sit on the board of a local Aboriginal Medical Association.

In recent years a major focus of Dr Sharp’s work had been the connection between substance abuse and prisons. Dr Sharp had spent 10 years providing health services within Goulburn jail, including the supermax. Dr Sharp had also been calling for a renewed approach to how we address substance abuse in prison.

I would just like to read the words of Dr Sharp on this issue. He said:

The rates of incarceration, especially for Aboriginal people, are disgraceful. We have report after report coming out, but it’s not going to improve until we

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