Remote doctor says intervention money being wasted
A doctor at a health care clinic in the remote Northern Territory community of Maningrida thinks money going towards the Federal Government’s Indigenous intervention could be better spent.
In Maningrida, the taskforce’s demountable clinic is operating in the backyard of the community’s permanent medical centre.
Doctor Geoff Stewart says the $83 million already spent on health checks would be enough money to correct the underfunding of all existing health services in the Territory.
“It’s more than what would be estimated to be required to bring all health services across the Northern Territory up to a level of funding where we’d all be expected to provide a comprehensive range of primary health care services.”
The taskforce’s doctor in Maningrida Chris Henderson says it’s important to seize the window available to help Indigenous children.
“I can understand the Northern Territory doctors feeling somewhat defensive about people like me coming in and taking over their patch. But politics works in different ways to medicine. And right now we have a political window where the kids are being concentrated upon.”
Meanwhile, the chairwoman of the taskforce Sue Gordon says it’s up to the Territory Government, not her body, to fund child safety programs.
“Sometimes it’s easy to think ‘Well, this is the special one’, but there are so many Aboriginal organisations within the Aboriginal communities in the Territory who are doing a fantastic job across the board, but you have to look at them as a total picture.”