Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 2017) . . Page.. 4014 ..
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.12): I thank Mr Milligan for bringing this important motion here today, yet again highlighting the failures of this government in relation to the people of the ACT, specifically the Indigenous population in the ACT.
Once again, we have seen a policy and a speech from the minister which are long on buzzwords and short—very short—on the delivery of outcomes. I acknowledge the challenge put out by Mr Rattenbury that says that it is now up to the opposition to come up with a solution, that it is the opposition’s responsibility to be the solvers of this problem. The opposition has been playing its part by casting light on the problems that this government would prefer to have swept under the table, and casting light on the prevarications that we have seen and the hiding of the facts that we have seen in this issue.
The hiding of the facts can be no better exemplified than in the minister’s proposed amendments to Mr Milligan’s motion. Let us look at some of the words in that amendment. The first part of the amendment describes the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm as being set up “to address the root causes of alcohol and drug use”. Mr Milligan’s motion notes that the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm has a model of service delivery that addresses only the final stages in the treatment of drug and alcohol dependency. The root causes of drug and alcohol use need to have already been addressed before participants can get onto the site. If the purpose of the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm is to address the root causes of drug and alcohol use, it must be set up as it was intended, and with the $12 million appropriation.
What was that intention? That intention was to establish a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. I heard the minister; I listened very carefully to the minister. I would like her to reflect on what she said. My recollection of what she said is that that had never been the intention. I would like her to reflect upon that. If she did say that, she needs to go back and look at the history and then reflect on whether or not she has just misled the Assembly. From my time in this Assembly, it was clear that the bush healing farm, before it had a home, when it was proposed to be at Kama, long before it moved to Miowera, was to be a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility for the Indigenous community. The words “residential” and “rehabilitation” are critical words here. Those are the critical elements of any program that addresses the root cause of drug and alcohol abuse. The words are entirely missing from the government’s current plan for the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm.
The minister also says that residential services will become available in the future, with residential accommodation already built. Why did they build residential accommodation if that had not been the plan?
The minister’s own amendment puts the lie to the things that she said in her speech today. The residential facilities have been built, at great cost. And going back to the point made by Minister Rattenbury, we are not saying that the asbestos should not have been removed; we are not saying that the bridge should not have been upgraded; we are not saying that the access road should not have been fixed. But these things should all have been planned for and not come as a surprise. They should not have come as a surprise as we went along, and caused significant delay.