Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Work underway on new health accommodation facilities

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health, Member for Lingiari
    Kon Vatskalis MLA, Northern Territory Minister for Health

Northern Territory Health Minister Kon Vatskalis today toured the site of two new accommodation facilities at Royal Darwin Hospital.

Mr Vatskalis said work is progressing well at the new short-term patient accommodation facility and the Indigenous Mothers’ Accommodation Facility.

“This combined $22 million project is being delivered by local company Norbuilt and will result in more beds for more patients,” Mr Vatskalis said.

“It is important to facilitate Darwin’s population growth and that’s why the Northern Territory and Australian Governments are working together to deliver the two new facilities.

“The new 16 bed facility specifically designed for expectant Indigenous mothers is set for completion by December 2011 and the new 50 unit accommodation complex for patients from rural and remote areas is due for completion in April 2012.

“More than 60 jobs are being supported in the construction of these two new facilities which will deliver benefits through our economy.”

Mr Snowdon said these projects will be vital for people who need to travel long distances to Royal Darwin Hospital for medical and related services.

“The Indigenous mothers’ facility will provide affordable accommodation for Indigenous women from remote NT and WA communities who need to attend the hospital before, during and after the birth of their child,” Mr Snowdon said.

“This facility will offer services such as meals, referrals, assistance with transport and informal training and advice.

“A similar facility has been operating successfully in Katherine for more than 20 years and I’m pleased that the operators of that facility, Aboriginal Hostels Limited, will also be operating and staffing this new facility.” Ms Macklin said the initiative forms an important part of the Gillard Labor Government’s commitment to helping Indigenous children enjoy a healthy start to their lives.

In addition to the $4.4 million Darwin facility, the Gillard Government’s $10 million Indigenous Mothers’ Accommodation Fund has provided a new 24 bed facility in Cairns and an upgrade and extension of the ten bed facility in Katherine.

“We want to ensure Indigenous mothers receive proper medical care in the final weeks of their pregnancy, and during and immediately following the birth of their children,” Ms Macklin said.

“This facility will help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by improving outcomes for new mothers in remote NT communities.”

The Gillard Labor Government’s contribution to the 50 unit complex has been funded through the $3.2 billion Health and Hospitals Fund.

This Health and Hospital Fund is helping to boost the economy by creating new jobs while supporting long-term improvements to the health and hospital system.

In the Northern Territory the fund has also provided:

  • $150 million in Round 3 for the new Palmerston Hospital and upgrades to regional hospitals and remote health clinics;
  • $34.2 million to construct a Centre of Excellence in Indigenous Health and Education that focuses on interventions to optimise physical, cognitive, social and emotional development of Indigenous children, including the purchase of new capital equipment.
  • $27.8 million to build a dedicated network of hospital and community medical education facilities based around the Royal Darwin Hospital and Charles Darwin University; and
  • $13.6 million for a new emergency department at Alice Springs Hospital.