Improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of the ACT

Equipping Canberra’s Indigenous community to reach their social, cultural and economic potential is the focus of the Canberra Liberals’ Indigenous Affairs initiatives, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs James Milligan said.

Improving the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of the ACT proposes a suite of measures to support the ACT’s Indigenous community in health, education and youth programs, business, justice and community participation.

“The Canberra Liberals are committed to working with the Indigenous community to build a better, more inclusive Canberra for all Indigenous Canberrans,” Mr Milligan said.

“Each of our initiatives takes into consideration concerns raised by leaders in the Indigenous community.

“Our initiatives are the culmination of two years of listen to and learning from the Indigenous community,” Mr Milligan said.

Health services that focus on healing the whole person

For years, Indigenous Canberrans have asked the ACT Government to provide culturally appropriate residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.

A Canberra Liberals Government will deliver this service, whether by means of expanding current services, a new purpose built facility or by upgrading an existing rehabilitation facility with a dedicated Indigenous element.

“Indigenous Canberrans need a clinically and culturally balanced approach to health care to help break the cycle of drug dependence for future generations.

“A residential program with a culturally appropriate model of care will help Indigenous Canberrans get back on their feet.

“In addition to a residential rehabilitation program, the Canberra Liberals will also seek to improve cultural awareness across all ACT Health services as well offer cultural training to private health providers,” Mr Milligan said.

Targeted education and youth support programs

The Canberra Liberals will use sport to help build resilience, responsibility and healthy lifestyles among Indigenous students. We will also offer personalised tutoring programs to help close the gap in numeracy and literacy.

“Organisations such as the Clontarf Foundation offer exciting and effective programs which combine schooling, sporting activities and mentoring.

“Getting the foundations right will help Indigenous children to compete on the same level as their peers, ensuring they have every opportunity to reach their potential.”

Justice services focused on healing and rehabilitation

The Canberra Liberals recognise that the families and children of incarcerated offenders experience flow down effects from encounters with the corrections system.

“This can unfairly affect relationships, self-identity and future prospects,” Mr Milligan said.

The Canberra Liberals will support families whose lives have been touched by crime with specialised counselling. In addition, two dedicated Indigenous Parole Officers will help people exiting the justice system successfully transition back into the community.

Improving the social wellbeing of the local community

The Canberra Liberals will restore Boomanulla Oval, ensuring that it is well maintained, well governed, and accessible to the community.
“We have listened to the Indigenous community who want to see Boomanulla Oval restored as a premier sporting and cultural facility.
“A new refurbished oval complex with a local Indigenous voice will create an asset the whole community can enjoy.”

The Canberra Liberals want to help develop the site as a cultural heartland for the Indigenous community.

“We have worked closely with leaders in the Indigenous community to develop these initiatives, and we are committed to making them work,” Mr Milligan said.

“I have made it my mission to listen, appreciate the views and desires of the community, to understand the gaps in existing policy and why a different approach is needed to provide meaningful, practical solutions.

“This marks the start of what I hope will be a collaborative journey to empower Indigenous Canberrans in all spheres of their lives.
“I hope that all interested Canberrans will provide feedback on these initiatives,” Mr Milligan concluded.