The politics and progress of Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm, by student journalists Ella Fisher and Melissa Meadowcroft.
The Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm, funded under the ACT Labor Government’s “Your Health Our Priority” project, has been held up in bureaucratic red tape for several years.
Purpose built for the ACT’s indigenous population suffering from alcohol and other drug issues, the Bush Healing Farm will provide specialised care with a culturally specific focus.
Those in alcohol and other drug rehabilitation services believe that the Farm will fill a gap in ACT services and that projects such as this tend to be used as “political footballs”.
The farm, originally slated for opening in mid 2013, has yet to be allocated a start or completion date. Plagued by lengthy hold-ups in the planning and approval process, ACT Health Policy Division Executive Director Ross O’Donoughue said he believes the mid 2013 deadline is threatened.
As ACT Labor continues to focus on health projects in the run up to the October 20 election, the Aboriginal community waits for the approval of the Ngunnawal Bush Healing Farm.
Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service CEO and ACT Local Hero of the Year, Julie Tongs OAM, whose organisation currently provides Healthcare for the Aboriginal Community said, “the sooner that we get the Healing Farm the better. I hope regardless of who is in government after the election, that [it] continues to progress.”