Alice Springs news
Alice Springs news; NewspaperNT
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Community newspspers; Australia, Central; Alice Springs (N.T.); Newspapers
v. 16 issue 22
Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.
The jobs of the 28 Bushlight employees are safe for the moment, says the CEO of the program, Bruce Walker they have contracts to 2010. The Federal Government has stopped the capital funding of the project which for the past eight years has planned and supervised the installation of solar power systems in 127 outback communities across the Top End of Australia, for people living off grid. Now only operational funding, $2.2m, will be available until the scheme closes down in 2011. In addition there is still capital funding in WA. Bushlight was spawned by the Alice-based Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT), and has offices in Alice Springs, Cairns, Darwin and Derby. Dr Walker is keen to change the governments mind, and a spokeswoman for Environment Minister Peter Garrett says officials are still looking at options. Dr Walker says: They are stimulating every other thing in the country, why cut the stimulus to something thats actually working? On the one hand the government wants to close the gap while on the other the outback is losing out yet again over decisions made elsewhere. He says CAT is busy pointing out unintended consequences of the cut. Dr Walker says critics of Bushlights cost $30.8m so far, or $244,000 per system often overlook the side benefits. The programs team were involved not in the actual installation, but in community support, engagement, developing resources, technical design, organising small suppliers, and payment of the bills. A bevy of small businesses has sprung up around the program. Bushlights premature demise would lead to a loss in community benefit, diminishing the capacity to respond to a lot of other initiatives. If you dont have capital programs to deliver, then these people move to other areas. We have runs on the board. We built on the back of the [Bushlight] opportunity a capacity. We need to find a creative way of maintaining that capacity and building it further. Bushlight is saving 2.2 million liters of fuel a year, worth $3.3m. Aboriginal doctor finds her work rewarding. By ERWIN CHLANDA. More Indigenous health professionals is one way to make improvements in Aboriginal health, says Dr Kim Isaacs, a Resident Medical Officer on a three month rotation in the Alice Springs Hospital. Dr Isaacs is a Noongar, Yaruwu and Karajarri woman. Her mother is from Broome and her father is from the southwest of Western Australia. She is the first Yawuru and Karajarri person to become a doctor, completing a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery Degree at the University of Western Australia in 2007. She did her internship at the Sir Charlie Gairdner Hospital in Perth and began her term as a Resident Medical Officer there. The hospital sent her to Alice to increase her paediatric (child medicine) experience. I am enjoying learning and working with the many Aboriginal groups from this area and making a comparison of the similarities and differences to our health back home in Western Australia, says Dr Isaacs. She did not want to specify what these might be as she has only been in town for a couple of weeks. Most of the children she is working with in Alice are Aboriginal. Its a very busy ward which makes the work challenging but it is also rewarding, says Dr Isaacs. While shes in the Centre she hopes to get out and meet other Indigenous people working in health and in Aboriginal organisations with a view to encouraging any who might want to study medicine. Theres a lot of interest in getting Aboriginal people into medical school and once theyve graduated, to return to work in their community, she says. Thats very much what she wants to do to work in general practice and paediatrics back in the Broome area. Although theres a family background in health care her mothers a nurse, her uncle worked in Aboriginal mental health, and her grandfather was a traditional healer in Broome medicine was not her first field of study. She did a Commerce degree at UWA and afterwards worked as a researcher at the Western Australian Office of
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