The Australian Government is investing $8.75 million over four years to provide additional health services in the Northern Territory as part of its commitment to strengthen Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services.
Delivered through the Northern Territory Pathways to Community Control program (NT P2CC), the funding will provide First Nations people with access to effective, high quality, comprehensive and culturally appropriate primary health care services.
This investment builds on the $4 million already committed for transition activities occurring in West Arnhem, demonstrating the strong partnerships that exist between the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Government and other key members of the NT Aboriginal Health Forum, including the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT (AMSANT).
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said community driven approaches to delivering health services were delivering major benefits for First Nations people.
“We have held extensive consultation with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, which is key to giving communities real control over their own health and wellbeing,” Minister Hunt said.
Northern Territory Minster for Health, Natasha Fyles, said, the Northern Territory Government welcomed the Commonwealth’s ongoing commitment to supporting community control.
“We look forward to working in partnership with the Commonwealth to deliver on this important initiative. This is the continuation of our commitment to local decision making, and recognition of the importance of listening to the community and working hand-in-hand to meet community needs,” Ms Fyles said.
Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory, CEO, John Paterson, said, AMSANT welcomed the ongoing funding commitment from the Australian Government to continue transition to community control health services.
“This is consistent with the Closing the Gap National Agreement priorities to strengthen Aboriginal decision making and enhancing Aboriginal community control organisations,” Mr Paterson said.
The National Agreement on Closing the Gap, released in July 2020, identified health as a priority sector.
The NT P2CC program, which falls under the Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP) will continue to make an important contribution to realising the commitments made under the National Agreement.
To date, the IAHP has successfully transitioned health services to community control in Yirrkala (2012), Milingimbi (2016), Ramingining (2019), Gapuwiyak (2019) and Maningrida (2021). The Yirrkala clinic has already recorded improvements in care and patient numbers, and has had success in lowering childhood anaemia and increasing immunisation rates.
The additional funding will be available from 1 July 2021 and will be focused on the priority regions for transitioning of West Arnhem, Maningrida and Central Australia.