Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New 40-bed hostel for Alice Springs

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Minister for Indigenous Health - Member for Lingiari
    The Hon Rob Knight MLA, NT Minister for Housing

A new 40-bed hostel is helping provide improved support and care for patients seeking renal dialysis treatment in Alice Springs.

Topsy Smith Hostel, operated by Aboriginals Hostels Limited (AHL), offers purpose built facilities for dialysis patients, accommodation for carers and partners and a focus on diet and cultural needs including shelters for painting.

The Australian Government provided $4.6 million to the hostel and the Northern Territory Government provided additional land.

This new facility, which was officially opened today, has twenty shared bedrooms, each with an ensuite, as well as four rooms with wheelchair access.

It also includes two living areas, a large dining area and kitchen, a central courtyard garden, a traditional fire pit and outside shelters for art painting.

This facility enables Indigenous people to access health services closer to home and is an important step in tackling Indigenous disadvantage.

Between 2000 and 2007, the rate of people receiving dialysis and kidney transplants for the treatment of end-stage kidney disease rose by 26 per cent. Indigenous people are more than 32 times more likely to require renal treatment compared to non-Indigenous people.

Diabetes is generally regarded as the major cause of kidney disease, with forecasts predicting a rapid annual increase in the number of patients requiring dialysis over the next ten years.

This hostel will play an important role in helping treat kidney disease.

The Australian Government is working with state and territory governments to improve the prevention and treatment of kidney disease.

The Indigenous Chronic Diseases package focuses on preventing, treating and improving the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes in Indigenous communities.