Territory Stories

The Centralian Advocate Tue 28 Sep 2021



The Centralian Advocate Tue 28 Sep 2021


Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Australia, Central -- Newspapers

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News Corp Australia

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News Corp Australia



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10 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 A chartered flight carrying dozens of aged care workers arrived in Darwin on September 19. Picture: Glenn Campbell SAMOAN CARE STAFF TO EASE SHORTAGE MORE than 30 workers from Samoa will soon commence a training and immersion program in Alice Springs as they prepare to help ease the Territorys critical workforce shortage in the aged care sector. Following training, the workers who are undertaking 14 days supervised quarantine will be dispersed between aged care facilities across Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine. Australian Regional and Remote Community Services (ARRCS), which operates several facilities across the Territory including the Old Timers Aged Care Facility and Hetti Perkins Home in Alice Springs, has partnered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to secure the workers under the Pacific Trading Scheme. ARRCS general manager Wendy Hubbard said the visa program requirements would ensure workers were committed to ARRCS over three years. We are looking forward to warmly welcoming our new staff to five facilities across the Northern Territory, she said. Its vital we have this extra support across our residential aged-care facilities to enable us to provide a continuity of care for our residents. Ms Hubbard said the bolstered workforce would also mean that current workers would have the opportunity to take much-needed leave and reduce fatigue from overtime. Our workers are doing incredible work, often under challenging circumstances across regional and remote areas of the Northern Territory, she said. The new workers will enable us to continue to provide quality care to communities that need our support. LEE ROBINSON DESPITE additional efforts from the Territory and federal governments and health service providers, Covid-19 vaccination rates in remote communities in Central Australia and the Barkly region remain low. Among communities serviced by NT Health, Territory data shows that a measly 19 per cent of Barkly residents over the age of 16 have received their first jab and just 13 per cent have had both inoculations. In the two weeks ending September 22, just seven doses were administered by NT Health in the region, which has an eligible population of more than 1400 people. In remote Central Australian communities, NT Health has administered a first dose to 37 per cent of eligible residents, and one quarter of those have received doses one and two. Chief Minister Michael Gunner announced earlier this month that he intends to roll back border restrictions and move away from snap lockdowns once the Territory hit a double dose vaccination rate of 80 per cent, which he expected to occur in early November. The ABC has reported that, at the current rate, the Territory will not hit that target until late January. The Chief Minister, chief health officer, Health Minister, and the Police Commissioner all spent time in remote Central Australia in recent weeks in the hopes of learning more about the causes of hesitancy, and to help promote the message that it is critical that remote Territorians get the jab. The Central Australian Ab original Congress (CAAC) announced late last month it would begin a six-week Covid-19 vaccination blitz by ramping up its efforts to get more Aboriginal clients vaccinated. Two weeks later, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced three locations in the NT, including the Barkly region, would receive additional supports to boost uptake among Indigenous Australians. NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said there had been pleasing uptake levels in many communities and there were signs of improvement. We acknowledge the unique challenges the Territory faces in administering the vaccine to those living in remote areas, Ms Fyles said. Parts of Central Australia and the Barkly remain a concern but we are seeing progress as we work through hesitancy issues in partnership with Aboriginal medical organisations, land councils, health workers and Traditional Owners. NT Health have actively engaged with Territorians to encourage uptake of the vaccine including with all Aboriginal communities where it is the primary healthcare provider to deliver tailored education programs and community information sessions. Remote NT vax rate still lagging LEE ROBINSON Natasha Fyles. ELEVATED LEVEL OF PFAS FOUND IN SOIL AN investigation into the soil composition at the Alice Springs Fire Station will be undertaken after elevated levels of man-made contaminants were discovered. The NT Fire and Rescue Service will begin an environmental audit of the area after a sample analysed by the Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security (DEPWS) showed unusually high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at the site. In a statement, a DEPWS spokesman said there was no immediate public health risk or cause for concern for nearby residents. The spokesman said there were no detectable levels of PFAS in the Alice Springs town water supplied by Power and Water and the water was safe to drink. DEPWS environmental operations director Peter Vasel said the chemicals were likely from a type of firefighting foam which had not been in use for years. He said these chemicals were very stable and would not break down in the environment. PFAS chemicals were universally used in firefighting foams because of their superior fire suppression capabilities, he said. However, the NTFRS moved away from using firefighting foams containing PFAS over a decade ago LEE ROBINSON STUART Rotary Club has made a lifesaving donation to the paediatric ward at the Alice Springs Hospital. Rotary last week handed over two Astodia Diaphanoscopes to the hospital, which can be used to safely identify blood vessels in newborn babies. The donation is part of an ongoing community service to Alice Springs by the club, which has been operating for more than five decades. Stuart Rotary Club volunteer and nurse Fran Neylon said the donation was for a worthy cause. We always like to do something locally, and the hospital obviously helps a broad range of people, and we try and service the hospital in many different ways, she said. (The equipment) can be timesaving, less traumatic for the patient and also for the person during the cannulation. Ms Neylon, whos been involved with the club for 12 years, said the Covid-19 pandemic had made organising fundraising events more challenging than in the past. It is tricky with Covid, but were always trying to serve the community, given the resources that weve got, and thats what Rotary is about. Rotarys lifesaving donation LEE ROBINSON 10