The Canberra Liberals welcome Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris’ apology to the indigenous community for blaming them for confusion over the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm. However, questions remain on how the government plans to provide the community with a viable alternative, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs James Milligan said today.
Mr Milligan presented a motion in the Legislative Assembly this week calling on the government to apologise to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for blaming them for confusion on how they intended to use the Bush Healing Farm – a government funded purpose-built facility for drug and alcohol rehabilitation for the indigenous community. The facility cannot be used as a rehabilitation centre because it does not comply with the Territory Plan. Ms Fitzharris apologised on behalf of the Health Directorate.
Mr Milligan also called on the government to table a copy of the crown lease and to publicly release the sum of money spent on the facility.
“I was pleased to see Ms Fitzharris act in good faith and apologise for the anger and hurt caused by her comments and on behalf of the Directorate for causing confusion,” Mr Milligan said.
“However, I am concerned that the government has opted to withhold important information and that it has offered little by way of an alternative rehabilitation facility.
“The indigenous community has been waiting for a long time for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre to assist struggling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Now that the government has denied them the use of the facility it is imperative that it provides a compelling alternative.
“So, while we thank the Minister for taking responsibility on behalf of her Directorate, we call on the government to find a quick and speedy alternative rehabilitation facility for the indigenous community,” Mr Milligan concluded.