Page 1557 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2017

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MR BARR: The Canberra community clearly endorsed our vision for the city through investment in light rail. We have won two elections now on that question. Canberrans clearly see the benefits of our plan to link the north and the south of the city through a single light rail public transport spine. Last night’s budget shows that the federal government also now sees the value in rail investment in cities; investment that creates jobs, lifts productivity and cuts congestion.

Of course, we see every time this topic is mentioned that the level of excitement rises in those opposite who, one could only hope, are content to go to a third election opposing light rail in this city. Every instinct of the Canberra Liberals is to oppose public transport investment. We see this time and time again, but long may it continue, because we will continue to invest in our light rail network. There are now opportunities, as outlined in the federal budget last night, for the commonwealth to continue its support for metropolitan rail projects.

The fact that Tony Abbott invested in light rail stage 1 tells you something about the capacity of state and territory governments to be able to work constructively with the commonwealth through initiatives that the commonwealth put forward for infrastructure. We did it with asset recycling. We see another opportunity here with the announcements from the Prime Minister and the Treasurer last night. We will work towards that.

Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—bush healing farm

MR MILLIGAN: My question is for the Minister for Health. Minister, yesterday the Chief Minister said that the Indigenous community failed to understand the nature of the bush healing farm. Yet in direct communications with members of the community, your directorate asked and funded Winnunga to develop a model of care for an alcohol and other drug residential rehabilitation service in accordance with ATODA standards. Minister, can you tell the Assembly why your directorate wrongly asked them to develop such a model if there was never an intention to deliver that model to the Ngunnawal bush healing farm?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Milligan for the question; I think he has misquoted the Chief Minister in his response to his question yesterday and took his quotes from media reporting. Certainly, my office has been in contact with Winnunga, with Julie Tongs, since she sent her email yesterday.

I would note that there was a workshop held, as the Chief Minister mentioned yesterday, with a number of key stakeholders on Monday afternoon. There is some disagreement amongst some of the stakeholders about the purpose of the Ngunnawal bush healing farm. My intention is to have that facility open as soon as possible. We need to have a service there. There has been some confusion, which I regret and which I am seeking to now understand, about the type of care and the types of services that will be provided there.

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