Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

More support for Indigenous mums and bubs

Joint Media Release with:

  • Hon Kevin Rudd MP, Prime Minister
    Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Minister for Health and Ageing
    Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health

Indigenous babies will have a better chance of being born healthy and staying healthy following an announcement today of Australian Government funding of $9.1 million over three years for 10 new mothers and babies services.

The 10 new services are in addition to the 43 already funded under the New Directions program which give Indigenous babies and their mothers better access to:

  • Pre and post pregnancy care
  • Standard information about baby care
  • Practical advice and assistance with breastfeeding, nutrition and parenting
  • Monitoring of developmental milestones, immunisation status and infections
  • Health checks and referrals for treatment for Indigenous children before starting school

The Prime Minister made the announcement as part of the Closing the Gap statement in Parliament House this afternoon.

The ten new services will be available in areas of need, including four new sites in the Northern Territory, two each in South Australia and Western Australia and one each in Tasmania and Queensland.

The new service providers are:

  • Laynhapuy Homelands Association Incorporation, Northern Territory
  • Pintubi Homelands Health Service, Northern Territory
  • Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation, Northern Territory
  • Western Arrente Health Aboriginal Corporation, Northern Territory
  • Country Health South Australia
  • Tullawon Health Service, South Australia
  • Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre
  • Ngunytju Tjitji Pirni Aboriginal Corporation, Western Australia
  • Wirraka Maya Health Service, Western Australia
  • Mookai Rosie Bi-Bayan, Queensland

Ms Roxon said the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has committed to halving the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade, and this increase in comprehensive mothers and babies services is another important step to fulfilling this goal.

‘In total, the Commonwealth has committed $90.3 million for the New Directions Mothers and Babies Services program, with an additional $75 million contribution from states and territories,’ Ms Roxon said.

‘This program gives Indigenous children a great start to life through ongoing home visits to ensure Indigenous children are healthy, happy and ready to learn.’

Ms Macklin said expanding services supporting pregnant women and new mothers in Indigenous communities was critical to giving Indigenous children the best start in life.

‘Other clinics already offering these services, which include care during pregnancy, advice on nutrition and health checks for children, have seen improvements in the health of women and their babies. This includes fewer premature and low birth weight babies,’ Ms Macklin said.

The New Directions mother and baby services provide increased access to pre pregnancy care, improving birth weights of Indigenous babies and continuing to provide support in the child’s early years to give them the best possible start to life.

Mr Snowdon said this was part of a broad commitment by the Rudd Government to Close the Gap in Indigenous health outcomes.

‘Across the Health and Ageing portfolio, funding of almost $1 billion has been allocated in the 2009-10 Budget for health programs specific to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.’

‘These recent investments equate to a 57 per cent increase in Indigenous health funding across the Portfolio since the 2007-08 Budget,’ Mr Snowdon said.

A list of the 43 New Directions: Mothers and Babies Services already funded through this initiative is attached below.

Organisation Name

Australian Capital Territory

  • Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service

New South Wales

  • Aboriginal Medical Service Western Sydney Cooperative
  • Yerin Aboriginal Health Service
  • Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre
  • Hunter New England Area Health Service
  • Orange Aboriginal Health Service
  • South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service
  • Sydney South West Area Health Service
  • Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation
  • Hunter New England Area Health Service
  • Riverina Medical & Dental Aboriginal Corporation
  • Royal Hospital for Women

Northern Territory

  • Danila Dilba Health Services
  • Central Australian Aboriginal Congress
  • Katherine West Health Board Aboriginal Corporation
  • Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation – Nhulunbuy Clinic
  • Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation – Ngalkanbuy Clinic
  • Wurli Wurlinjang Health Service
  • Willowra Yuendumu Nyirripi (WYN) – Central Australian Aboriginal Congress
  • Laynhapuy Homelands Assoc Inc (*new)
  • Pintubi Homelands Health Service (*new)
  • Sunrise Health Service Aboriginal Corporation (*new)
  • Western Arrente Health Aboriginal Corporation (*new)


  • Carbal Medical Centre
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Mackay
  • Apunipima Cape York Health Council Aboriginal Corporation[1]
  • Gurriny Yealamucka Health Services Aboriginal Corporation
  • Mulungu Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre
  • North and West Queensland Primary Health Care Assn (including RFDS)
  • Cunnamulla Aboriginal Corporation for Health
  • Inala Indigenous Health Service
  • Mamu Health Service
  • Mookai Rosie Bi Bayan (*new)

South Australia

  • Country Health SA (*new)
  • Port Lincoln Aboriginal Health Service
  • Tullawon Health Service (*new)
  • Country Health SA


  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (*new)


  • Bendigo and District Aboriginal Co-operative
  • Mercy Public Hospital
  • Murray Valley Aboriginal Cooperative

Western Australia

  • Marwarnkarra Health Service Aboriginal Corporation
  • Bega Garnbirringu Health Service
  • Ord Valley Aboriginal Health Service
  • Western Australian Country Health Service – Carnarvon Hospital
  • Western Australian Country Health Service – Geraldton
  • Yura Yungi Medical Service
  • Wirraka Maya Health Service (*new)
  • Ngunytju Tjitji Aboriginal Corporation (*new)