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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 February 2018) . . Page.. 164 ..

Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders—Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm

MR MILLIGAN: My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. The government has spent $11.7 million on the development of the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm. Yesterday you reported during question time that only one program had been conducted at this facility since it opened in early September last year. Minister, why has the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm been used for only 20 days out of the 153 days since it was opened?

MS FITZHARRIS: I thank Mr Milligan for his question and note, of course, the government’s significant investment in the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm. I am disappointed that it took some time to open the bush healing farm, but we were extremely pleased last year. For those people present at the opening of the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm, it was a significant moment.

There has been one client group go through the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm but, as I also have advised the Assembly, there is quite an extensive process for application and a number of different groups involved in assessing the applications for the next cohort of clients to go through there.

That work is currently well underway. The second program, due to begin in April, will be another 12-week program. We look forward to the learnings from the first one as well as, as I indicated last year, the involvement of the Healing Foundation, who continue to work with ACT Health on developing the model of care and improving the service provision at the bush healing farm.

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, why did you spend $11.7 million on a building that has been used so rarely?

MS FITZHARRIS: We had an investment of $11.7 million in an exceptional facility. I think that Mr Milligan, who has visited the facility, would agree that it is a beautiful setting. They are wonderful buildings and they allow for us to grow and expand our services over time so that we can reach more and more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our community who need the sorts of services we will be providing more and more of at the bush healing farm.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, when are you going to make a decision about providing a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility for the Indigenous community in the ACT?

MS FITZHARRIS: As I indicated yesterday, it is part of ongoing discussions with ACT Health.

Government—ethical contracting

MS CODY: My question is to the Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations. Minister, what steps is the government taking to ensure that the ACT government awards contracts to businesses that meet the highest ethical and labour standards?

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