Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 2017) . . Page.. 4009 ..
In closing, I really would like to make sure that we have a shared understanding of the objectives of the bush healing farm, and I offer Mr Milligan a briefing, which I understand he has not previously sought on this matter, to broaden his understanding of, as I have outlined in my speech today, the objectives of the farm and its operation. I would also just like to confirm that Health checked and they sent an email invitation but unfortunately, I gather, there was some difficulty with that. I apologise that it appears that he may not have received his specific invitation, and I do apologise for that.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (4.55): I would like to commend Mr Milligan for his diligence and commitment in his advocacy for Canberra’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The ACT government has not met expectations with regard to the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm. That is a fact. That is why the minister has apologised on several occasions, because the government created high expectations. They created a perception of what they were going to deliver. And the reality is that what has now been delivered is not what was originally flagged. The project has lacked coordination and, even now, years and many millions of dollars later, the government still have not delivered a service that was what they originally promised.
Earlier this year the minister tried to dance around the fact that it is not what they promised. And it is extraordinary that the government did not have a finalised model of care prepared months if not years ago rather than having to scramble at the last minute. We have asked questions on numerous occasions. Mr Milligan has asked many questions this year on this subject, and to think that a model of care has either only just been finalised or is still being finalised really is a reflection on just how poorly coordinated this project has been and the lack of leadership that successive ministers have demonstrated or have not demonstrated. They have had ample opportunity to get the work on this proposal done.
The delays and problems with the procurement, planning, decisions and construction meant that the government had plenty of time to get it right. They have had about 10 years, in fact, to get it right. Yet, a bit like a university assignment, it has come down to the night before and they are panicking.
The farce with this continued just a couple of weeks ago when invitations were hastily sent out and many members of the community who are obvious potential stakeholders could not attend because of the short notice. This is despite the fact that it has been 10 years in the making, and the invitations had to be scrambled. Everyone had to scramble to get the invitations out with five days notice. There is very little by way of what government has done with regard to this project that is redeeming, or befitting the Indigenous community that they are meant to be serving.
The Canberra Liberals support the need for a residential facility with a clinical model of care. Of course, this is easier said than done, and we are the first to admit that. However, the government has had 10 years to get this right. Delay after delay with regard to the construction and the various planning decisions and the procurement decisions should have at least meant that they were ready with regard to the model of care. But this has been on the backburner for a long time.