Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 particularly to the health service at Aputula. The concern relates to the lack of adequate provision for overtime in emergency situations ... Mr Reed: I had a letter from them the other day saying how happy they are about what we did for them. Mr BELL: ... for health sisters who are required to work overtime. I understand that, in the health clinics in the bush that are staffed by departmental employees, the issue of overtime for those employees is not a problem. The service is provided. At Aputula, there have been ongoing problems in respect of a secure funding basis for the health service. It seems that, eveiy 6 or 12 months, the health service is affected by a critical funding situation. It often results from economies. I know that, in that community, the provision of health services has been a matter of concern. I want the minister to address the issue of adequate provision for overtime for the grant-in-aid health services around the Territory. Also in the health area, I reiterate particular problems in my own electorate that I have drawn to the ministers attention previously. In particular, I refer to the provision of vehicles for workers in Haasts Bluff and Maryvale, and to the need for adequate clinic facilities at Jay Creek. With those comments, I indicate my serious concern about the governments fiscal strategy. I look forward to hearing positive results from the Aboriginal health expenditure. I believe that consideration is long overdue. I indicate my determination to continue to invigilate this governments finances with energy and perspicacity in the hope that we may obtain a greater degree of honesty in public debate about the shortcomings of exactly that strategy. Mr REED (Health and Community Services): Mr Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise today to outline the Territory governments budget allocation across the 3 areas of my portfolio responsibilities. For the Department of Health and Community Services, I am pleased to be able to report yet another increase in the budget which is up by $ 14.06m, from $302.9m in 1994-95 to $317.023m for 1995-96. In the 5 years since 1990-91, this government has increased its health and community services expenditure by more than 40% In recognition of the major health problems facing Aboriginal Territorians, the government has committed an additional $8.8m in 1995-96 for Aboriginal health including funding for a major new health outcomes strategy. The new funding commitment increases the departments annual expenditure on Aboriginal health and community services to $168.8m in 1995-96. The governments allocation in 1995-96 recognises the fact that Aboriginal ill-health, especially in remote areas, remains our greatest health challenge in the Territory. Mortality rates for Territory Aboriginals remain at 3.5 times those of the total Australian population. Although gains have been made in child health outcomes, aspects of adult Aboriginal health have actually deteriorated in recent years. Major advances have been made in controlling or eradicating infectious diseases such as leprosy and tuberculosis. Although some infectious diseases remain a problem, the emerging challenges in Aboriginal health are the increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, kidney failure and lung disease. The government has responded to this situation by increasing the level of health service provision to diagnose and treat these diseases. My department has a proud record in providing high-quality clinical care to Territorians and we have a dedicated and highly-skilled work force in community health centres and 3533