Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 7 June 2017) . . Page.. 1961 ..
the important place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have in our nation. They are a very important part of being very clear about the true history of this country. Last week was National Reconciliation Week and the theme was, “Let’s take the next steps”. At the same time Indigenous leaders from across Australia gathered at Uluru to call for their voices to be enshrined in the constitution. It has been a very significant time for issues of Indigenous affairs in Australia. While we must acknowledge that we still have a long way to go, we have an opportunity here with the bush healing farm to take a step forward. I certainly look forward to an update and news of opening of the Ngunnawal bush healing farm in the coming months.MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (11.09): I thank Mr Milligan for bringing this very important matter to the attention of the Assembly today. I note the amendments proposed by the minister and Mr Milligan’s general agreement with them.
That having been said, I think that this is an important matter because this Labor government has created confusion and uncertainty over the whole issue of the Ngunnawal bush healing farm. Sadly, I think that I am the only member present who recalls when this became an issue when it was championed by a previous Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope, as far back as 2002 in this Assembly.
I recall the tortuous process that we have been through. There was the initial proposal that the Ngunnawal bush healing farm should be situated on the property known as Karma near William Hovell Drive in Belconnen. That was not considered suitable. There was the eventual purchase of the property at Miowera. There was the long-running saga in relation to objections from neighbours that resulted in a matter being taken to the ACAT in the ACT. And there were the ongoing issues that Mr Milligan has outlined in relation to the development of various models of care. Whether there were two, one—as at various stages—or four is a moot point, but there has been a lot of money spent on the development of models of care, some of which have been thrown out after a considerable amount of money has been spent on them.
Most recently, I had a departmental briefing, a very long overdue departmental briefing, from the health department where this issue was discussed. I was told at that time that we could not finalise the opening of the Ngunnawal bush healing farm, for two reasons: that we had not finished the egress road, and that we had not resolved a model of care.
I questioned fairly closely the minister’s advisers and the staff who were present as to why we were resolving the model of care so late in the piece, and I was told that we just did not have a model of care even after all of this time. It turned out that we had. I was not advised of this during the departmental briefing, but Mr Milligan’s staff were able to point this out to me through other documentation. I think that is a little regrettable when I actually questioned them about why we did not have a model of care before we built the building. I got no response, but the minister here today has said that the initial 2010 model of care, in one of its iterations, informed the structure of the building. It goes to a very poor briefing that I received on this matter. I was effectively told that there was no model of care that informed the structure of the building that was finally built. The minister says that that was not the case, and I hope