The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:00): My question is directed to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Will the minister update the council on Aboriginal health initiatives?
The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:00): I thank the honourable member for his question. unfortunately, we know that around Australia the health outcomes of the Aboriginal community are significantly worse than the general population. The Marshall Liberal government is committed to supporting initiatives which can improve Aboriginal health outcomes.
Before last year's election, the Marshall Liberal team committed $50,000 towards the establishment of a permanent dialysis facility at Pukatja on the APY lands that will be operated by Purple House. Purple House is an Aboriginal-controlled organisation that operates more than a dozen permanent dialysis units in remote Aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory and Western Australia, as well as in Alice Springs, Darwin and through a mobile dialysis bus, the Purple Truck.
Until recently, renal patients on the APY lands who required regular dialysis had no option but to relocate to Adelaide, Alice Springs and other regional centres for treatment. Those relocations came at a significant personal, social and cultural cost to the patient, their family and their home communities. The establishment of a permanent facility on the APY lands is something Anangu communities had been calling for for more than a decade. They have raised funds and advocated in partnership with Purple House and other key organisations, including the NPY Women's Council. The federal Coalition government was committed to the project for many years and provided most of the funding for the project. Progress was slowed by the lack of support of the former Labor government.
The first patients received dialysis at the Pukatja centre on 16 August this year. The new centre is named after Kinyin McKenzie, an Anangu man and pastor who advocated for many years for a dialysis centre in his home community of Pukatja. Kinyin himself had to relocate to Alice Springs to receive dialysis and, sadly, did not live to see the facility open in Pukatja. Demonstrating the importance of Aboriginal health for the Marshall Liberal government, the Premier visited the Purple House Kinyin McKenzie Dialysis Centre on 6 September with the federal Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher.
Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of visiting the centre. I was given a tour of the facility by the dialysis nurses Sandii and Bob, who introduced me to three patients receiving dialysis at the time of my visit. One of them, Tjunkaya, was one of the first patients to receive dialysis at the centre and has also been an advocate for the centre. In 2017, she wrote these powerful words:
Anangu need to live in their own community, on our country.
Anangu need to live on their own country together with their family.
They need to be close to what is important to them—family, country and Tjukurpa.
These powerful dialysis machines and the Purple House nurses will live here in our community, we will look after them.
Anangu who have sick kidneys will come home to their country.
They will be happy to be home with their family but they will also remember the old people who didn't get to see this day.
We thank you for your support in bringing our family home.
The Kinyin McKenzie centre has now been providing dialysis in Pukatja for over a month and will have its official opening on 7 November. I thank and congratulate the members of the Aboriginal community and the broader community who have worked to make the dialysis centre a reality. I wish all of the dialysis patients all the best for their future health.