Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017



Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 9 May 2017

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Parliamentary Record 5


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




pp 1623 to 1686


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 9 May 2017 1653 centred on working with families on their capacity to nurture their child to achieve full potential and provide a range of services, these include child development assessment, screening, immunisations, parenting education and support, post-natal assessment and support, sleep and behaviour management, and referral by qualified child and family health nurses. Top End and Central Australian Health Services are delivering the Strong Women, Strong Babies, Strong Culture program in select remote communities. This program works to provide culturally-appropriate education and support activities about health and wellbeing to women and young girls in the community about health and wellbeing. There is additional support and education through the Young Mothers are Strong Mothers program, which is a collaboration of the Northern Territory Departments of Health and Education. Young Mothers are Strong Mothers is an integrated, holistic health service model for young pregnant or parenting girls so they can continue their secondary education. This program is delivered by the Department of Education at the Palmerston Child and Family Centre and supported by Northern Territory Health. This is an important program that seeks to ensure young women can continue their education while becoming mothers. We need to make sure, no matter what the circumstance, that young Territorians have access to education and can complete their schooling so they have more opportunities in life. They can then become great role models for their children. The school health service includes 15 health-promoting school nurse positions in 16 government schools in urban and regional areas in the Northern Territory. This provides within the school community quality school-based services incorporating primary healthcare and promotion philosophy and principles that maintain, facilitate and promote the physical, emotional and social wellbeing and health of children and young people. This initiative seeks to ensure children are learning in a healthy environment. I was fortunate to have school-based nurses when I attended school. It is fabulous to see that has continued. As a government, we believe that improving early childhood health and development is the key to changing our future. We made a number of election commitments to enhance and strengthen the child health initiatives. Education is a critical component to the success of these initiatives and delivery of programs. Our services are universal, targeted and accessible. We have committed to creating an NT-wide early childhood development strategic plan, expanding the Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program, enhancing the yellow book and developing a child and adolescent health plan. The Australian Nurse-Family Partnership Program provides structured and sustained nurse home visits to women who are pregnant with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child, from pregnancy through the first two years of a childs life. This evidence-based program aims to improve the pregnancy outcomes by helping women to engage in good preventative health practices and then supporting mothers to improve their childs health. If we can raise the birth weight of children, that provides long-term health benefits. If we can provide vital care to a child in its first early days of life then we are setting them up to get the most from education. The Minister for Education and a number of my other colleagues have spoken about the Families as First Teachers program, engaging with families on that path of education. But, through this program we can set them up with a healthy start to life. The Australian Government is expanding the program with additional sites in Gunbalanya, Maningrida, Wadeye and other locations. The government has committed to a further funding explanation into five more remote communities and we are providing $8m over three years for that purpose. NT Health established a child and adolescent health plan project planning group at the end of last year to develop a detailed project plan before engaging with external stakeholders. Representatives across the Department of Healthexperts from child health, mental health, alcohol and other drugs, Aboriginal health policy, nutrition and physical activity to name a few. A discussion paper will be developed for Cabinet approval and will be holding community consultations. We, as a government, are taking our responsibilities in preparing our young people to get the best from education through health. The Department of the Chief Minister has led the Early Childhood Development Plan and has commenced stakeholder engagement with a range of organisations and individuals, including Territory Health. We are enhancing the content and e-capability of the NT Health yellow book. The commitment to enhance this