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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 September 2017) . . Page.. 4016 ..

This program, as it is currently designed, provides no certainty for the most vulnerable people in our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and it is very likely the antithesis of their culture. I hope that we are not setting this program up to fail. What has been put forward is a poor imitation of what the government under Jon Stanhope promised.

This government boasts that it has spent $12 million on a shiny new facility, but, as I am bored with saying, in a way, spending money is not a sign of good outcomes; it is a sign of spending money. The problem is that the facility with its present functions is likely to fail, and it is likely to fail the people of the ACT who need it most.

I commend Mr Milligan for bringing this matter again to the Assembly. I see that there is some hope in the government’s amendments, but I am still not satisfied that the minister is serious in her endeavour. I would like her to reflect on what she had to say here and consider whether she needs to correct the record.

MR MILLIGAN (Yerrabi) (5.21): I thank members for their comments on the motion which I have presented. I do not agree with the changes which have been proposed by the minister. I recall that in my last motion I called on the government to apply for a lease variation to include a clinical model of care; I thank Mr Rattenbury for reminding me of that.

Many of the matters for note in my original motion are a matter of public record. The property known as the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm is not an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility, even though this is what the original intent of the farm was, as stated by Jon Stanhope and reiterated by him in a recent Winnunga newsletter. What has been developed does not meet the intention.

Ten years has passed and more than $12 million has been spent on the property, which is currently nothing more than a non-residential day program centre, Regardless of what the final intent of the property may be. Of course, we would welcome a fully operational residential facility, but as this would not be a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, the government is going to have to address this ongoing gap.

As I stated in my opening, the need for a fully functioning drug and alcohol residential facility in the ACT is necessary to address the needs of those currently required to travel interstate. We note that the model of service delivery as currently proposed for the property is suitable only for the final stages in the treatment of drug and alcohol dependency recovery.

I understand and accept the minister’s assurance that Indigenous employees are engaged in the property. However, this does not mean that Indigenous led or owned organisations have been engaged. We firmly believe, and research shows and supports this, that Indigenous issues are best resolved with or by Indigenous communities. We must begin to engage Indigenous led, owned and operated organisations in the provision of services to that community.

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