Territory Stories






Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory


AMSANT News; E-Journals; PublicationNT; AMSANT News




Date:2008-11; Date of issue: October-November 2008; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.




Aboriginal Australians -- Health and hygiene -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Aboriginal Australians -- Medical care -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals

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Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory

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AMSANT : Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT



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OCTOBER ~ NOVEMBER 2008 AMSANT has prepared a major submission for the review with input from our member services and relevant staff. We argued political considerations by the Australian Government resulted in flawed decisionmaking in developing the NT Intervention and its associated measures. The government failed to consult with and engage Aboriginal communities and largely ignored evidence and considerable existing experience about what works on the ground. It also ignored the recommendations of the Little Children Are Sacred report. Many of the Intervention measures have had little or nothing to do with addressing child protection and child safety. These include the removal of the permit system for entry to prescribed communities; compulsory acquisition of some Aboriginal land by the Australian Government; compulsory health and sexual abuse checks of children; and compulsory income quarantining. AMSANT also calls for the reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 , pointing to the considerable negative impacts suffered by Aboriginal people and communities as a result of inappropriate and discriminatory measures, such as compulsory income quarantining. Of equal concern is the considerable waste of public money - a tragedy when communities are in such desperate need. To address the health, wellbeing and protection of Aboriginal children and families we need an approach that builds on existing services, capacities and strengths in communities and one that addresses immediate needs as well as long-term community development. Most importantly, there needs to be Aboriginal engagement, participation and control in the design and implementation of solutions. In terms of the child health checks, AMSANT believes that these should not have occurred as part of the Intervention, but as part of normal primary health care delivery, as was already occurring. Increasing the long-term capacity of our Aboriginal health services would have been a better use of the funds, rather than flying in external health teams at huge cost. Nevertheless, AMSANT has worked with the government to try to ensure the health checks produced maximum benefit and minimum disruption to our health services and communities. Fortunately, Phase 3 of the health checks is focused on the long-term health needs. The submission calls for long-term, sustainable improvements in child safety and protection and the general health and well-being of Aboriginal children and families. This requires the maintenance of increased levels of investment in services and programs in primary health care by the Australian Government, as well as measures to address the social determinants of health - such as housing overcrowding, education and employment. The report on the review of the Northern Territory Emergency Response measures has been delayed by a few weeks. The review board, headed by Peter Yu, is now expected to deliver its findings in mid-October. NTER REVIEW DELAYED 3 R E A D E R S A R E E N C O U R A G E D T O S E N D T H E I R F E E D B A C K T O b r o n w y n . n e t l u c h @ a m s a n t . o r g . a u