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Monday, 4 July 2011
Page: 7422


Mr HAYES (FowlerGovernment Whip) (21:45): One of the outcomes of the 2020 conference was the identification of eastern Indonesia as being of great strategic importance to Australia, particularly in the longer term. It is our nearest and biggest neighbour to the north. Eastern Indonesia just happens to be one of the poorest areas in Asia and along with East Timor it is the poorest area in our immediate region. I would like to draw attention to a very positive development in our north and an important emerging engagement with eastern Indonesia, in particular with Bali as well as East Timor. I refer to the developing relationship between Royal Darwin Hospital and the largest public hospital in eastern Indonesia, Sanglah hospital in Denpasar, Bali. Royal Darwin Hospital and Sanglah hospital have an intimate history, which emphasises the strategic importance of the area. Sanglah hospital was the hospital to which all victims, including all foreigners, were taken for treatment after the terrorist bombings in Bali in October 2002 and October 2005. Royal Darwin Hospital was the hospital to which all Australian victims were air evacuated and treated. The hospital also received patients from other nations and from Indonesia.

The trauma of terrorist bombings and the strategic need for Australia to respond and protect our citizens in the region in the wake of these horrific acts of terrorism led to some very constructive strategic thinking. On my recent visit to Bali and Jakarta as part of my study leave, I was privileged to be invited by the President Director of Sanglah hospital, Doctor Wayan Sutanga, to go to his hospital for a briefing on the developing relationship between Sanglah hospital and Royal Darwin Hospital and a tour of his facilities. I was impressed in so many ways by the develop­ments I saw. They involve practical measures for the protection of our citizens in Bali and Indonesia, the activities of DFAT and AusAID and some very positive practical engagement in eastern Indonesia.

I was taken to the burns unit and the intensive care unit at Sanglah. The burns unit came into existence as a result of the intelligent application of AusAID funds. What really impressed me was that the burns unit and the intensive care unit serve the needs for all manner of victims of horrible accidents all over Indonesia and East Timor. Whilst ready to deal with the victims of terrorist attacks, it serves the needs on a day-to-day basis of Indonesians, including those who are particularly poor. AusAID should be congratulated for such a sensible and useful project.

I was interested to learn that since the creation of the burns unit there has been increasing communication and engagement between Royal Darwin Hospital and Sanglah hospital. Clearly there has been careful planning about how to improve the effic­iency in disaster and emergency response by medical and nursing staff in both hospitals. What is unfolding is a practical exchange between the two main public hospitals in our region. The program involves nursing training and capacity building at Royal Darwin and the training of doctors and medical administrators in emergency medicine, disaster and trauma response and coordination across countries of appropriate responses.

These two hospitals have applied for a grant from AusAID for $1.6 million over five years to develop a practical nurse exchange project. Having seen the benefits of this program, I lend my full support to this application. Not only will this program benefit the people of Indonesia and East Timor but also the 650,000 Australians who visit Bali each year, not to mention those who choose to make their retirement in Indonesia. For Australians as well as our friends and neighbours, the coordination of emergency medicine makes good sense. Therefore, I fully support for the relationship between the Royal Darwin Hospital, the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre and Sanglah hospital. I also pay regard to Colin McDonald QC, the chair of Royal Darwin Hospital, for his assistance in coordinating my visit to Indonesia and for putting on a proper footing the relationship between his hospital and Sanglah hospital in Denpasar, Bali.