Page MP Kevin Hogan (Nationals) has announced funding of almost $100,000 for a new pilot program tackling drug and alcohol use and mental health issues within the north coast indigenous community.
Rekindling the Spirit, which will run the program, is also taking over the management of Lismore’s Aboriginal Medical Service, Jullums.
Mr Hogan said at yesterday’s launch it was ‘important that we address drug use and mental health issues in all our communities.’
‘This program has been designed to be culturally appropriate for the local indigenous community and tailored to meet the needs of each individual,’ he said.
He also congratulated Rekindling the Spirit (RTS), whose CEO Greg Telford said he was ‘honoured that the community had faith’ in his organisation to ‘move forward and expand into an Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS).’
‘We are all about the community having a say in their health care and look forward to being able to provide real job opportunities for Aboriginal people so that they can become qualified and gain work anywhere,’ he said.
North Coast Primary Health Network (NCPHN) chief executive Dr Vahid Saberi said the awarding of the contract to RTS involved ‘a dialogue to ensure the sustainability of the service into the future.’
‘We were pleased to be assured that Rekindling the Spirit had all the required capabilities for the ongoing delivery of quality and safe health care to the Aboriginal community of Lismore,’ Dr Saberi said.
Mr Telford and RTS Services Manager Jeff Richardson said they wanted to thank the many past staff of Jullums and its present team who had ‘done a great job taking the AMS this far.’ ‘In particular, thanks go to Dr Andrew Binns who has worked at and been a great supporter of Jullums AMS for many years,’ Mr Richardson said.
‘And we really want to thank NCPHN for managing Jullums, supporting it and handing it over to us on a sound financial basis. We look forward to expanding and growing the health service.
RTS is taking ownership with the support of Aspen Medical, a global health care provider and philanthropic organisation. Aspen will be available to support the AMS with clinical governance advice, funding in its early stages if necessary, and will provide health care staff to fill gaps if needed.
Jullums will continue to operate as before with the same staff, with Rekindling the Spirit placing a particular emphasis on preventive and collaborative health care.