Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 August 2017) . . Page.. 3136 ..
Because of the decision by this government not to run a therapeutic drug and alcohol rehab centre at the Tidbinbilla site, despite spending more than $12 million on the building, the Indigenous community is left with a large need. Current spaces in non-Indigenous care are limited; yet this is a key health issue for the community, linked to various medical and mental health conditions, and leading to increasing numbers of social problems, including incarceration.
Recent data showed that as many as 31 per cent of Indigenous Australians aged 15 years and over reportedly used drugs and other substances in the past 12 months. And these numbers are on the rise, according to the latest ROGS data.
Why does this government fail to recognise this need, or support the community through funding a culturally appropriate facility here in the ACT that could meet this urgent need? If not a purpose built facility, at least provide with better funding and facilities those organisations that work in the Indigenous community to provide support and intervention for alcohol, drug and tobacco addictions here in the ACT.
We note with approval that the government has budgeted for a new health centre for Winnunga, although delivery is not until 2020. We call on the government to speed up the funding arrangements for the new centre so that it can be opened sooner rather than later, to meet the growing and ongoing needs of the community.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.54): I take this opportunity to comment on part 1.11 of the appropriation bill in relation to health. This is the first budget for Ms Fitzharris as the Minister for Health and Mr Rattenbury as the Minister for Mental Health, and it is fair to say that both Ms Fitzharris and Mr Rattenbury have inherited a lot of problems.
These problems include the following: the health data is in chaos; health facilities, especially the Canberra Hospital, are in a poor state of repair; there is flammable cladding on the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children; there are long overdue reports on a number of important issues; there are significant problems with mental health; there are problems with Indigenous health, which Mr Milligan has touched on; there are problems with the NDIS, which you, Madam Assistant Speaker Lee, have already spoken about; there are significant problems with care at the AMC, which you have also spoken about, Madam Assistant Speaker, on behalf of Mrs Jones. It is also interesting to note that we are suffering from probably the worst flu season for a number of years, as evidenced by the depleted benches on the opposition side as members look after their sick children. It has been a tough time.
The biggest problem with ACT Health is its culture of secrecy and spin. This is a legacy of 15 years of Labor government. In their time as ministers, Ms Fitzharris and Mr Rattenbury have done little to fix the problems in ACT Health. Indeed, in some cases the problems have got worse. The culture of spin and secrecy has got worse. In a meeting on 5 December 2016, I offered to work with Ms Fitzharris in a constructive and collaborative way to help fix issues in ACT Health if she advised me of problem areas. At the time, I got the distinct impression that Ms Fitzharris liked that idea, but it