Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Construction begins on new accommodation for Indigenous mums

Joint Media Release with:

  • Jim Turnour MP, Member for Leichhardt

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, turned the first sod today to mark the start of construction for the development of a new 24 bed accommodation facility to help expectant Indigenous mothers and their babies.

The Australian Government has provided more than $5 million for the new facility which will provide greater access to ante-natal care, post-natal care, medical and related services for mothers from remote communities.

Since 1983 the Mookai Rosie Bi-Bayan Corporation has managed a 12-bed facility in Cairns caring for Indigenous women from the Cape York, Torres Strait and Gulf regions in Queensland.

“There is a high demand for services for expectant and new mothers in Cairns,” Ms Macklin said.

“Mookai Rosie currently turns away at least one woman a day which indicates a clear need to expand these services.

“This new facility will provide accommodation, referrals, advice, education and support for Indigenous mothers.”

The Member for Leichhardt, Jim Turnour, said the new facility will include two living areas, a large dining area and kitchen, plus a meeting room for post-natal education programs and other support services.

“This facility will provide Indigenous mothers with culturally appropriate services and the information they need to provide the best care for their child,” Mr Turnour said.

“It will help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by improving outcomes for new mothers in remote parts of north Queensland.”

Construction of the new 24-bed facility is due to be completed by February 2010.