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Thursday, 7 July 2011
Page: 8116

WYATT ROY (Longman) (12:41): Last Wednesday, 29 June, it was my honour and pleasure to officially open Murri Teilah Medical centre in Caboolture. It was fantastic to be there and to share in the excitement of local Indigenous elders, medical professionals and about 300 Indigenous members of my community. I take this opportunity to recognise Ken Wyatt, my friend and colleague, who is a strong advocate for better health services and who has developed his own relationships with local Indigenous elders, including Auntie Lynne Matsen.

There are several exciting aspects of this centre. The first of these is that it is specifically designed to deliver culturally sensitive medical care to Indigenous people in our community. Sadly, it is the case that some Indigenous people are reluctant to access mainstream health care, for any number of reasons. This can sometimes result in conditions that could have been managed, or better yet prevented from turning into chronic conditions, if they had been caught early enough.

It is my understanding that initially the centre will focus on providing services to those who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend regular service providers. While this is the focus of the centre, its doors are open to the whole community. Another of the services that Murri Teilah Medical will provide is a patient transport service, which will make access to the centre so much easier for some members of my community. The centre will provide women's health services, including a clinic for mothers and babies, an immunisation clinic, chronic disease management and prisoner release care. Importantly, it will also cater for allied health referrals such as oral health.

There are approximately 5,000 Indigenous people in the Moreton Bay region, and until now there has been no dedicated medical centre to cater to their needs. The idea for the establishment of Murri Teilah Medical came about through the vision and energy of the founding directors of the centre, Jennie Anderson and Anita Kemp. They believed in the development of a medical centre which would cater to the needs of the Indigenous community in the Moreton Bay area and which was not dependent on government. Their energy and dedication has seen that vision come to fruition. This medical centre represents a vibrant and active community seeking to find solutions to very real problems and, in the process, to own its own destiny.

The second exciting aspect of the Murray Teilah Medical centre model for health care is that it is privately funded. A need was identified in the community and the community went about finding ways to meet that need. As soon as the Indigenous community in the region became aware of the idea of the centre and the services proposed, they worked tirelessly through fundraising efforts and volunteering. This is about the community delivering a real result. It is a fantastic example of how a community can identify and deliver services required for that community without the solution being imposed by the government. If the community wants it and the community delivers it, the outcomes are probably going to be good, and we have high hopes for Murri Teilah.

The centre expects to have some 1,500 financial members, comprising donors from the private sector, private citizens and Indigenous community groups. The centre bulk-bills, so cash flow will be generated through Medicare rebates. It is my understanding that Murri Health Group has developed partnerships with Queensland University of Technology and is looking to partner with Queensland Health to further enhance and provide care programs for older Indigenous people and for mothers and babies. Intervening early through regular health checks and immunisation programs will undoubtedly improve health outcomes for Indigenous people in my community.

I share the excitement of the board of the management of Murri Teilah Medical. It is exciting for my community that there is now a place where Indigenous people can come to receive culturally sensitive care. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the elders, Jenny Anderson and Anita Kemp, and everyone that has contributed to the establishment of this important new facility in our community.