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 responsibility. Today, 15 communities are funded by this government to run their own health services. Aboriginal communities wishing to assume responsibility for management of their community health services will be supported and funded on an equivalent basis to those services still directly administered by the government. An additional $1.4m has been allocated to enhance primary health care services on these communities. The funds will be used to increase the salaries of employees in line with existing government staff and to upgrade equipment and facilities. This will ensure staff in rural communities enjoy similar conditions to staff in urban areas. The Environmental Health Program was launched 3 years ago with funding of 10 communities to employ Aboriginal environmental health workers. Funding provided to Batchelor College has resulted in the development of a Certificate in Health Studies in Aboriginal environmental health. Communities, such as Utopia and Robinson River, have since sent members to participate in the course while others, such as Galiwinku and Mt Liebig, have identified resources to fund positions. The program has produced significant practical achievements such as a reduction in water wastage in Numbulwar and the trial of a new sewage treatment system in the Timber Creek area. This program will be continued in 1995-96. In the field of Aboriginal employment and training, one of the key features of successful Aboriginal health programs is the employment of Aboriginal people in their design and implementation. In order to maximise Aboriginal involvement, the Department of Health and Community Services will establish an Aboriginal employment, recruitment and retention strategy. The strategy will ensure that Aboriginal people play a central role in the development of programs to improve health. The department employs directly or funds the employment of, 180 Aboriginal health workers across the Territory. By placing emphasis on programs that we know do work and setting appropriate goals to work to, we will make better progress in improving Aboriginal health. My department is finalising the details of a major 5-year program that will concentrate on key Aboriginal health factors. Negotiations will occur with Aboriginal health services, ATSIC and the Commonwealth regarding the implementation of this strategy and its further development. Concrete and measurable targets will be established for each program component of the strategy and progress will be reviewed annually against these targets. Through this strategy, the government will produce measurable improvements in health outcomes which ultimately will reduce our heavy reliance on clinical skills and resources to treat poor health in Aboriginal people. I will detail these targets further in a ministerial statement to the Assembly later this year. Turning now to other budget highlights, I shall provide some details of the governments commitment to clinical treatment and other programs in 1995-96. We must accept that, while preventive measures represent the thrust of our approach in 1995-96, it is essential that the clinical effort be continued. In this budget, the government has committed a total of $lm to the third year of a 5-year program to construct Aboriginal health clinics in remote communities. This year, 5 new clinics will be built in central Australia and one in the Top End, further improving conditions for staff and clients in remote areas. 3536