Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Howard Government delivers full-time GP and Community Health Workers to Indigenous Community

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson today announced Australian Government funding for a full-time General Practitioner and two Community Health workers for the Wadeye indigenous community.

“As the Minister responsible for the COAG trial site at the Wadeye remote indigenous community, I am delighted to announce this important funding to provide a residential GP and two Community Health workers,” said Senator Patterson.

“When I visited Wadeye, the community leaders expressed concerned that the remote nature of their community results in a lack of health services to meet emergency and general health care needs.

“This Howard Government funding commitment of $393,000 will boost the delivery of health services from a visiting District Medical Officer service of 5 days per fortnight to 3 full time residential health practitioners.

“This additional funding builds on the Howard Government’s commitment of $75,000 in 2003-04 for the establishment of a mobile outstation health service and $217,000 in recurrent funding from this year for two Regional Health Nurses to operate the mobile outstation.

“The Wadeye community will now benefit from increased primary health care services in the region including better nutrition education, advice about sexual health and assistance in reducing substance misuse.

“The Howard Government is committed to assisting indigenous communities achieve better heath outcomes, this funding will provide Wadeye with health services that improve individual, family and community health,” said Senator Patterson.

Wadeye is located 500 kms SE of Darwin and has a population of approximately 2,300. It is the sixth largest town, by population in the Northern Territory and is the largest Aboriginal community. The population is young, growing at a net rate of about 3% per annum and is expected to almost double within two decades.