Page 3503 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 12 September 2017

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concept is well accepted and has proven effective in countries such as Canada, in Australia it unfortunately still remains on the fringes. Putting spirituality and culture at the centre of care is not at the heart of Western medicine and often leads to questioning of its appropriateness as a policy response to issues such as incarceration or addiction.

The Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm will strive to do what has not been done thus far in the territory, that is, engage in the personal journey of individuals, families and communities dealing with the trauma caused by past practices and current disadvantage. In short, it aims to take a different approach to care to break the cycle of drug and alcohol problems, and these are the key words: break the cycle.

The Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm views the recurrent problems with alcohol, drugs and incarceration as symptoms of underlying issues. The farm strives to deal with these underlying issues rather than the symptoms in isolation. This is a difficult process. These issues are not ones which many want to talk about or, in some cases, even recognise. However, they must be confronted and addressed. The Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm will work to restore pride, trust and cultural identity whilst equipping individuals with a broad range of skills and networks needed to engage meaningfully in the community. This will form a base from which participants in the program can better avoid relapse, participate more fully in society and potentially even grow to become community role models themselves.

Through this project the ACT government aims to build individuals who have strong links to their identity and culture, who will not only be resilient in their own lives but can be seen as positive role models for others in their community and show that change is possible. This is a journey which will take time. Overcoming generations of disadvantage and trauma and restoring lost cultural identity do not happen overnight.

The work that will be done by the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm is not only about the individual healing journey; it is also a statement about promoting and protecting the unique and diverse cultures of our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognising the importance that culture plays not only in the wellbeing of the community but also of the individual. This has been recognised as a central right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here in the ACT as part of the ACT Human Rights Act, and I am pleased we are able to give life to these rights through the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm.

All clients seeking to enter the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm will have to undergo an assessment process to determine their eligibility and preparedness for the program. The assessment process will examine the client’s eligibility. This will involve two panels. The first panel will examine whether a client is in recovery from alcohol and drugs as well as their stability on any medications, their mental and physical health and any criminal matters which may affect their participation in the program. The second panel will examine the cultural and other preparedness for a client’s participation in the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm.

Clients may be eligible for entry to the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm if: any criminal history has been discussed with the service manager and deemed as

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