16 July 2014
THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
FEDERAL MEMBER FOR LINGIARI
MR ABBOTT ABANDONS CENTRAL AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITIES
“The Abbott Government has cut the funding for an essential mental health program that is delivered by the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The mental health program services ten remote Aboriginal communities and more than fifty outstations west of Alice Springs from Docker River and Mutitjulu in the south, to Kintore and Papunya in the north.
“Mr Abbott has refused to roll over funding for the Northern Territory Medicare Local even though other health organisations have been able to roll over their funding. This reduction in NT Medicare Local funding has meant that the service provider – the Royal Flying Doctor Service, is no longer able to deliver this much needed service,” Mr Snowdon said.
“The Medicare Local is now looking for another service provider for the mental health services but with the reduced funding it will be more difficult to find a provider.
“The result is that from the end of this month these communities may not be serviced by trusted mental health professionals and the consequences of this could be dire, could lead to self-harm and other mental health setbacks,” Mr Snowdon said.
“Mr Abbott promised to maintain funding that Closes the Gap. This is yet another example of where he is breaking that promise to Aboriginal people.
“The cuts to this vital service are shameful and absolutely unjustifiable and are a further example of this government’s lies and broken promises,” Mr Snowdon said.
“I call on the Health Minister, Mr Dutton and the Territory’s own Mr Scullion to explain why the funding for this service, through Medicare Local, was not rolled over to allow the RFDS program to continue. It does not make any sense and is yet another broken promise,” Mr Snowdon said.
Media Contact: Luke Gosling 0488 484 689