THE HON WAYNE SWAN MP
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer
THE HON NICOLA ROXON MP
Minister for Health and Ageing
THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
SENATOR TRISH CROSSIN
Senator for the Northern Territory
4 May 2011
Patients across the Territory will continue to benefit from national health reform through a huge $150 million investment into health and hospital infrastructure, including a new Palmerston hospital, announced today in the lead up to 2011-12 Budget.
Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan said these projects will not only greatly improve access to quality health care across the Territory, but would stimulate the local economy and create jobs.
“Finding room in this very responsible Budget for expanded health services has been difficult, but shows what a high priority it is for the Gillard Government,’’ Mr Swan said.
Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon and Minister for Indigenous Health Warren Snowdon said these significant investments will reach across the Territory.
“The Gillard Government wants to make it easier for Australians to see and contact a doctor closer to home and this huge investment will dramatically improve health services for many Territorians,” Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon said.
“This new purpose-built Palmerston Hospital will include a 24-hour emergency care clinic, capacity for up to 60 in-patient beds and a number of specialist services,” Minister Roxon said.
Minister for Indigenous Health and Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon said the Gillard Government would provide $70 million towards the $110 million Palmerston hospital project from its Health and Hospitals Fund (HHF) and congratulated the NT Government for funding the additional $40 million.
“At present, high demands on the Royal Darwin Hospital mean that many people wait longer than the recommended times for the Emergency Department and Elective Surgery,” Minister Snowdon said. “This new hospital will ease that pressure, and provide easier access to more services.”
Minister Snowdon said the Government was also providing $13 million to redevelop and expand the Gove District Hospital emergency department, and $3.7 million for similar works at the Tennant Creek Hospital. A further $13.5 million would be provided to build culturally appropriate short stay accommodation at Katherine Hospital (24 beds) and Gove Hospital (12 beds).
“This government is serious about improving the health and well-being of people living in the Territory, especially Indigenous people,” Mr Snowdon said.
“The funding announced today is part of a huge investment in regional health infrastructure and workforce in the Territory, and in other parts of regional Australia.”
Chief Minister Paul Henderson welcomed this announcement in support of a Palmerston Hospital as identified as a priority in Territory 2030.
“Our hospitals are the busiest in the country, and this expansion in hospital services builds on the success of the Palmerston Super Clinic and will improve health services to the people in the Top End.”
NT Health Minister Kon Vatskalis said: “This is a great example of the Federal and Territory Labor Governments working together to deliver on quality, affordable healthcare for Territorians.”
Senator Crossin said the Palmerston hospital project would be tailored to the health needs of people in the Top End.
“It will reduce patient waiting times, encourage patients to get treatment, and reduce the number of hospital re-admissions,” Senator Crossin said.
“It will also have a focus on improving Indigenous health, with culturally appropriate services and the capacity to train Aboriginal support workers, medical, nursing and allied health staff.”
Minister Snowdon said HHF funding was also being directed to improving access to primary health care in remote Indigenous communities.
A total of $50.29 million would be provided to build seven new primary health care clinics – at Robinson River, Ngukurr, Canteen Creek, Numbulwar, Elliot, Galiwinku, Ntaria – and upgrade four existing health clinics at Titjikala, Papunya, Maningrida, and Docker River.
He said the Laynhapuy Homelands Association would use a $623,000 grant from the HHF to build new health facilities in three East Arnhem communities.
“This project is linked to Flinders University and the new facilities will also support training for medical students in remote Indigenous settings,” Minister Snowdon said.
Mr Snowdon explained the NT projects had been selected for funding from the HHF Regional Priority Round. He said the applications were assessed by the independent HHF Advisory Board and found to satisfy the funding requirements.
“These major projects and many others around Australia being funded from the HHF’s Regional Priority Round will help regional hospitals and health services to cope with an expected increase in demand for services over coming years,” Mr Snowdon said.
“These projects will not only greatly improve access to quality health care, but will stimulate local economies and create jobs.
“The Government has committed $5 billion to the HHF as part of its national health reform agenda.”
The Northern Territory is already benefiting more than $95 million of infrastructure investments through the first round of the Health and Hospitals Fund, including projects for:
- $34.2m to build a Centre of Excellence in Indigenous Health and Education
- $27.8m for Flinders University to run a full medical program in the Northern Territory
- $18.6m to build an accommodation complex of 50 units on the grounds of the Royal Darwin
- $13.6m for a new Emergency Department on the grounds of Alice Springs Hospital and to relocate the Medical Imaging Department
- $2.5m for digital mammography.
For more information contact Ms Roxon’s Office 02 6277 7220
or Mr Snowdon’s Office 02 6277 7820